- PM Modi took a jibe at the SP for inviting a leader who had called the people of UP ”goondas”.
- Modi also reached out to Muslim voters, especially women.
- The move came after Mamata Banerjee showed support for Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav.
After the public show of support by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a jibe at the SP for inviting a leader who had called the people of UP ”goondas” (goons) to campaign in the UP Assembly elections. With campaigning coming to an end for the first phase of polls covering 58 seats in 11 western Uttar Pradesh districts this evening, Modi, while addressing a virtual rally, said that the rival parties are daydreaming about the division of votes in the region but people will defeat them again like in the past.
Touching on the issue of triple talaq, Modi also reached out to Muslim voters, especially women, saying they gave him the strength to end this practice and will vote for the ‘lotus’, BJP’s poll symbol. Modi was addressing the rally for assembly seats in Rampur, Badaun and Sambhal that will go to vote in the second phase of polling on February 14.
”Leaders of other states, who have termed people of UP as ‘goondas’ (goons), they are being called by them to campaign for them,” he said without taking any names hours after a press conference by Banerjee and Yadav.
“Had they cared for the honour of the people of UP, they would have not called them. But, they do not care for UP and the honour of the people of UP,” Modi said, launching a scathing attack at the SP and the Trinamool Congress.
Banerjee, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Modi, had during the West Bengal polls last year accused the BJP of trying to capture power in her state with the help of “goons from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh”. The Trinamool Congress had defeated a spirited bid by the BJP to gain power in the state where the saffron party was catapulted to the position of the main challenger after the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
At the joint press conference with Yadav, Banerjee tweaked the “khela hobe’ campaign anthem of her party for last year’s Assembly polls to ‘Khela Hoga’ (the game is on) and stressed that if “Bengal can do it (defeat BJP), so can Uttar Pradesh”.
Addressing Muslim voters, Modi said, “I want to ask that if any daughter comes back home (following triple talaq), will the father, mother or the brother not feel pained. “I ended the triple talaq, and assured lakhs of fathers, mothers and Muslim brothers that their daughter will not come back home all of a sudden.
“It was out of concern for the entire family, and not for votes. I have thought about your happiness. Despite facing criticism of the work I have done, I have worked for your welfare,” he said. Modi said he was happy that some wise people from the Muslim community stood by him.
“My Muslim mothers and sisters gave me immense courage and strength. And, it was because of that, I was able to free you from this problem,” Modi said. Muslim voters, who have traditionally not favoured the BJP, are present in large numbers in Western UP. The BJP has often accused the opposition parties of creating fear in the minority community against the party. The saffron party maintains that its governments have worked for inclusive development and that it is gaining the confidence of Muslim voters.
Modi said that bringing the marriageable age of the girls on a par with that of boys will also benefit the Muslim girls significantly. “Now, when such work is done, the Muslim girls opt for the lotus (BJP)”, he said.
Modi said his party’s track record was to make ‘kanchan’ (gold) from ‘kachra’ ( wastes), while the Opposition’s was to make waste even from gold.
“This is the difference of priorities. This is the difference between pre-2017 and today,” he said. He took a dig at the rivals for naming ”many history-sheeters and rioters” as candidates. “They do not have any regrets for their acts, and hence their candidates are also like this. Just by reading the names of the candidates, their thought process can be gauged. Their candidates are either history-sheeters or rioters.
“I would urge all voters that you should not forget their acts before you go to cast your vote. If they get an opportunity even by mistake, the farms will bleed once again, the shops will burn and the period of fear will return,” Modi said.
He accused the opponents of cheating people in the name of poll promises. Hitting out at the SP, he said “The fake Samajwadis, who had (illegally) grabbed the land of the Dalits, they are remembering Babasaheb Ambedkar for votes. But, the truth is that they are giving tickets to the land mafia. They are giving tickets to those who have insulted Babasaheb.”
Referring to Rampur, the bastion of jailed SP leader Azam Khan, the prime minister said, “The land mafia feels restless because of the bulldozer of Yogi jee. Rampur has witnessed this restlessness”. “Till the Yogi government is there, these mafias cannot harass the people of UP. This government is a safety shield for our poor people, the Dalits and the Backwards.”