UP election round-up: BJP slams Priyanka, Akhilesh for backing 'criminals'

Akhilesh Yadav was addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Banda city. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI Banda, Uttar Pradesh, India Feb 18, 2017, 02.15 PM (IST)

The BJP on Saturday targeted Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for campaigning on behalf of criminals in the state.

The party targeted Priyanka Gandhi for campaigning for the Congress-SP alliance in Rae Bareli. It said it was unfortunate that she was seeking votes for those accused of "rape and murder".

"It is unfortunate that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra sought votes for someone who is accused of a heinous crime like rape. She chose to keep mum on the allegation. She and Rahul Gandhi are not with the people of Uttar Pradesh but with those accused of rape and murder and those who protect them," BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

He was referring to the accusation of rape against Gayatri Prajapati, a minister in the SP government who is contesting the polls from Amethi, and the murder charge against another SP nominee Arun Verma. A police complaint was registered against Gayatri Prajapati on Saturday in a gang-rape and sexual harassment case on the order of India's top court.

"Akhilesh Yadav was the one who went around campaigning in the state with one hand on Gayatri Prajapati's shoulders. People of Uttar Pradesh are now looking for answers over women's safety from him. It's shocking that those who have untoward intentions against women are the very ministers being protected by Akhilesh," BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI.

Mayawati attacks SP over law and order situation

BSP chief Mayawati also held Akhilesh Yadav responsible for the "bad shape of law-and-order" in the state at a poll rally in the state.

She also claimed that SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav's brother Shivpal Yadav was "working internally" to "cut the votes" of that party.

Mayawati criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "overburdening" the population as a result of their policy of demonetisation for countering black money in the economy.

"The people of Uttar Pradesh have made up their minds not to elect the adopted son (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) but their own daughter (Mayawati) in this election," Mayawati said at a poll meeting in Jhansi.

Taking a dig at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's "adopted son" remark, BSP chief Mayawati said she was sure the people of Uttar Pradesh would ensure the victory of their "own daughter" rather than the "adopted son".aimed that the people of Uttar Pradesh as well as the rest of the country were "fed up" with the almost three years of the Modi government at the Centre.

Opposition wary of SP-Congress alliance: Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav claimed today that the Opposition parties were so disturbed over SP-Congress alliance that the tie-up was their only talking point during their poll campaigns.

"Ever since Congress has come with us, they (opposition parties) are not able to understand which way this path will lead them to...They are talking only on SP and Congress and nothing else," the Uttar Pradesh chief minister told an election meeting in the state's Banda city.

He also said that PM Modi was wrongly claiming that the SP government had not undertaken any measures for the development of the state.

Citing the development works incuding the building of roads carried out by him, Akhilesh appealed to voters to compare the work undertaken by his government with those of chief ministers in the past.

He also criticised the BSP for fooling the people with claims that they would not build any more memorials and statues. He was reference was to stone statues built by Mayawati during her tenure as chief minister.

"Who will believe them? She (Mayawati) says she will sit in the opposition (if she does not get majority)...She has celebrated 'raksha bandhan' earlier too with BJP...May be my 'buaji' (aunt) can side with them once again," he said while referring to Mayawati.

(WION with inputs from agencies)