Yogi Adityanath, targeting his main rival Akhilesh Yadav ahead of the Uttar Pradesh election, posted a tweet this morning calling the Samajwadi Party “worshippers of Jinnah” and supporters of Pakistan. “They are worshippers of Jinnah, we are worshippers of Sardar Patel. Pakistan is dear to them, we sacrifice our life for Maa Bharati (Mother India),” the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister tweeted, referring to Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Yogi Adityanath, who is seeking a second straight term in the election, has made deeply polarising comments like this in the run-up to an election that he and the BJP are determined to win. He began a few weeks ago with an “80 versus 20” comment that was seen to depict the ratio of Hindu voters to Muslims. He said that 80 per cent of voters were with the BJP. Earlier this week, Yogi Adityanath told a gathering: “Earlier Haj Houses used to be constructed in Ghaziabad, our government has constructed the Kailash Manasarovar Bhawan.”
Ghaziabad in western Uttar Pradesh is among the seats that will vote in the first round of voting in the state on February 10. UP will vote in seven phases. In western UP, the BJP has faced massive anger over the controversial farm laws, which were withdrawn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after an 11-month protest and months ahead of elections in key states including UP and Punjab.
The BJP and Yogi Adityanath’s divisive comments are seen to be an effort at taking the attention away from the farmer protests. Last year, the saffron-wearing Chief Minister, who is the head priest at the Gorakhnath Mutt in eastern UP, referred to Akhilesh Yadav’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav as “abbajaan” (Urdu for father).
“When pension was stopped, his ‘abbajaan was CM (Chief Minister). He was the CM for four more years. then he (Akhilesh) himself was CM for four years. But he did not think about government employees then,” Yogi Adityanath said. In the past few days, Yogi Adityanath’s Twitter timeline has been flooded with communally divisive posts. There are references to ‘danga’ or riots, “Abbajaan, mafia” and “palayan” or ” migration”.
Last week, the BJP’s Keshav Prasad Maurya questioned why the Samajwadi Party was not releasing its candidate lists anymore and what it was afraid of. Sources in the Samajwadi Party, which has released just one list of 29 candidates publicly but has given tickets to many more, say they are worried that the BJP could use the lists on social media to polarise the election. The Samajwadi Party has 13 Muslim candidates in the first phase of UP polls.