Super Sunday Rallies in UP; Modi, Mulayam, Kejriwal Face-off
The battle for Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for 80 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats at stake, hotted up on a 'Super Sunday' in a no-holds barred attack involving leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and Aam Admi Party.
As the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal crossed swords during poll rallies in the state, BJP leader Arun Jaitley summed up the importance of UP, saying, "The road to Delhi is via Uttar Pradesh."
Escalating his attack on Modi, Mulayam alleged he presided over "mass murder" of Muslims during 2002 Gujarat riots and took on BJP for trying to hoodwink them by talking of apology to gain their votes.
Mulayam also dismissed as "baseless propaganda" the Gujarat Chief Minister's development claims during his 12-year-long tenure of the state.
Hitting back at Modi for his taunt that Mulayam could not make UP as prosperous as Gujarat as the feat required "a 56-inch-chest", the Samajwadi Party(SP) chief raked the 2002 riots at a rally in Allahabad.
"You presided over the mass murder of Muslims," he said, adding, "And after that, your leaders apologise to the community."
Describing Muslims as "a brave, sensible and trustworthy community", Mulayam charged BJP with "hoodwinking" the minority community by "sounding apologetic after having allowed their carnage"--an obvious reference to the recent statement of BJP President Rajnath Singh.
Questioning Modi over his development claims, Mulayam quoted a number of sources to claim that "more than 30 per cent of women and 50 per cent of children are malnourished in Gujarat."
Hitting out at the SP government on the issue of communal violence, Modi asked Mulayam to explain as to why so many riots had taken place in Uttar Pradesh.
"In the past one year of your son's (Akhilesh's) rule, more than 150 riots have taken place in UP, while there was not even a single riot in Gujarat in the last 10 years. Not even a curfew was clamped there. Don't compare Gujarat with UP on development," the Gujarat Chief Minister said in Lucknow.
At a rally in Kanpur, Kejriwal launched a fresh attack on Modi over his alleged links with top business magnate Mukesh Ambani.
He also did not spare the SP, claiming there have been more than 100 riots in the state in the last two years. Targeting Mayawati's BSP, he said voting for it is a waste because it amounts to voting for Modi.
Kejriwal also claimed that his party will secure 100 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and that the next government cannot be formed without its support.