File photo: Akhilesh Yadav. Photograph: (Twitter)
Uttar Pradesh's Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday appeared to question the patriotism of the people of Gujarat when he said no soldier from the state got martyred, remarks the BJP claimed stemmed from "frustration".
Akhilesh Yadav, who was the chief minister of India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh (UP), was ousted after a surprise sweep of the state election by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after more than two decades.
"UP, Madhya Pradesh, Dakshin Bharat har jagah se shaheed huye hain, Gujarat ka koi jawan shaheed hua ho toh batao (Soldiers from UP, Madhya Pradesh, South India and other parts of the country have sacrificed their lives, but tell me whether anyone has been martyred from Gujarat)," he said.
Without naming BJP, Yadav said, "They play politics in the name of martyrs, Vande Mataram, and nationalism. What is their definition (of nationalism)? They do not even consider us Hindus."
He was apparently targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Gujarat politician whose rise in national politics, say his detractors, is marred by the growth of aggressive nationalism.
UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "His talk and politics have been discarded by the people of the state. That is the reason why he is making such statements in frustration."
Denouncing Yadav's comments as "unwarranted", Maurya said that those laying down their lives for the nation were Indians first.
(WION with agency inputs)