Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party and the Opposition parties -- the Congress and the BSP -- for the lack of development in the state.
At an election rally in the state's Barabanki district, PM Modi claimed that in spite of the central government providing funds for farmers, the state government had not done any work in their favour. He said that Uttar Pradesh (UP) can develop only when the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress would be removed from the state.
"Uttar Pradesh will progress only when the SP, BSP and Congress are removed. I urge people in UP to elect a BJP government devoted to development," he said while addressing a rally.
Till the time you will not punish SP, BSP and Congress, Uttar Pradesh will not change," he added.
Asserting confidence of achieving favourable mandate, Prime Minister Modi said an environment of contempt against the SP, BSP and Congress can be seen in Uttar Pradesh.
"Our government is for the poor, the underprivileged, the marginalised, the farmers. You can change the situation by placing your finger on the right symbol," he said.
The PM also took pot shots at chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's government at another election rally in Hardoi district, alleging that police stations in the state had become the SP's office. He also vowed to eradicate the rule of goons (gunda-raj) in the state if the BJP came to power.
"Can any political party's office be at police stations? The police take permission from the Samajwadi Party (SP) workers to lodge a case. Police stations have become the Samajwadi Party's offices. The highest number of political murders are perpetrated in UP.
Law and order has completely collapsed in the state. There should be no discrimination in the deliverance of justice," he said.
The PM, who was campaigning for the third and fourth phase elections in the state, vowed not to ditch the people in the state.
He drew a parallel with Lord Krishna who was born in UP but made Gujarat his 'karma bhoomi' (place of work).
"Krishna was born in Uttar Pradesh but made Gujarat his karma bhoomi. I was born in Gujarat but Uttar Pradesh has adopted me. It is a privilege for me. Uttar Pradesh is like 'mai-baap'. I am not a son who would ditch his 'mai-baap'. I will always care about Uttar Pradesh," he said.
The third phase of the UP assembly polls will take place on February 19. The results of the seven-phase elections will be announced on March 11.
Akhilesh Yadav hits back at Modi's inexperience barb, defends father Mulayam Singh
A day after PM Modi questioned him for forming a coalition with "those who tried to murder" his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav said Modi's advisors should have cited better examples like Firozabad where his party was defeated by the Congress in a by-poll.
The de facto chief of the SP said that his party had entered into an alliance with the Congress to keep communal forces at bay.
"Why did he travel so far to 1984 to create anger in me against Congress. He could have mentioned Firozabad where Congress' state unit chief (Raj Babbar) defeated us (in bypoll)," he said, adding they were revisiting such an old incident only because they have already "lost" the elections.
Akhilesh Yadav also hit back at PM Modi for calling him "inexperienced" saying, he had learnt to cycle fast so that neither the BSP's elephant nor BJP's lotus could come anywhere near the SP. The elephant and the lotus are the elections symbols of the two parties.
"They termed me as inexperienced but one can ride the bicycle (SP symbol) only after falling down at least once...I have learnt to ride bicycle and that too with great speed so that neither the elephant nor the lotus can come anywhere near," Akhilesh said at an election meeting in Karhal.
"Modiji said in Kannauj that by entering into an alliance with Congress, I have shown inexperience...We have done this so as to remove all doubts among people about government formation...We have done this to form government and remove communal forces," he said.
On the BJP's "achchey din" (good days) slogan, he said, "BJP people say SP could not bring achchey din...This was the slogan of BJP it was never given by the Samajwadis."
On the BJP's promise of loan waiver for farmers, he said, "I want to ask what has their government done in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra (where farmers are committing suicide...first you help farmers of Maharashtra".
Both Gujarat and Maharashtra are ruled by the BJP.
Akhilesh also dismissed claims of tensions with Mulayam Singh claiming "SP is not my party but that of Netaji (Mulayam)".
At a rally in Etawah, Akhilesh alleged that some people had deliberately tried to create a rift between Mulayam Singh and himself.
"Those who have tried to create distance between Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and me, the people of Etawah should teach them a lesson," Akhilesh said. Jinhone Netaji aur mere beech khaayipaida ki hai, Etawah ke log usaysabaksikhaane ka kaamkarna: Akhilesh Yadav in Etawah
"The very people we trusted were the ones who made me and Netaji fight," he added.
PM Modi should stop "Mann ki Baat": Rahul Gandhi
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi asked PM Modi to stop his radio programme "Mann ki Baat" and instead understand their sufferings in the wake of demonetisation.
Addressing an election rally in Sitapur, Rahul Gandhi also slammed Modi for not waiving off the loans of farmers.
"There was a meeting yesterday (Wednesday). Some people raised their voice against demonetisation. Modiji asked, what is their problem?"
"Modiji, you should stop "Mann Ki Baat" and should listen to the people. You'll understand the problems people are facing due to demonetisation," he said.
Hitting out at Modi, Gandhi said that the Prime Minister does not need to be in power in Uttar Pradesh to waive off the loans of farmers.
"To waive off loans, you (Modi) don't need to be in power in Uttar Pradesh for that. Your government is at the Centre, so you should waive off the loans. Why are you waiting for elections?" Gandhi said.
People won't be influenced by PM's 'adopted son' drama: Mayawati
BSP chief Mayawati took a dig at PM Modi, saying that the People of UP will not be influenced by his drama of calling himself the adopted son of the state.
She also asked Modi not to spread false information about her party's work when they were in power in the state.
"He can ask me if his people are unable to tell him," she said.
Mayawati also expressed confidence that the BSP would win with a majority in the upcoming elections.
"I am glad to inform that in the two phases conducted in UP, majority of the seats have been won by the BSP candidates. I can assert that in the coming phases as well, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will lead. Our party will form the government in the state with full majority. Keeping in view the wrong policies and functioning of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP), there is urgent need of BSP in Uttar Pradesh," she said.