“BJP trying to polarise the State on religious lines”

Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said the Congress had failed the people on two counts – corruption and price rise – and, therefore, the people have turned against it. “There are many issues in this [general] election, but these two will be the biggest,” he told The Hindu.

Rejecting BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s allegation that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were equally accountable for the failures of the Congress-led government at the Centre as they both were supporting it, Mr. Yadav said that was not the public perception. “The public perception is different. Secularism has been a very big issue and will remain a big issue after the elections. The people of U.P. understand this reason why we supported the Congress at the Centre.”

Mr. Yadav said the SP would contest the Lok Sabha elections on the twin plank of secularism and development. Rejecting the BJP claims of a swing in its favour in the State, and ruling out any significant wave in favour of Mr. Modi, Mr Yadav said: “He is a visitor in U.P. He has no knowledge of the ground situation in the State. U.P. is no Gujarat. This is too huge in size… it has a substantial Muslim population… the religious and caste relations in the State are complex.” He said the BJP, contrary to its claim that it was focussing on development as the main poll issue, was trying to polarise the State on religious lines.

“The BJP and the RSS are trying to create trouble in U.P. Though they raise slogans about development, their actual politics is being played on the ground in the name of religion,” he said.

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