LUCKNOW: On a day, India touched the milestone of administering 1-billion Covid vaccine doses, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday unleashed a caustic attack on the Opposition, saying had the pandemic occurred during the Congress regime, the “brother-sister duo would have fled to Italy”, in an apparent reference to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. Taking on rivals closer home, he said, “Had it occurred during the SP (Samajwadi Party) regime, chacha and bhatija (Akhilesh and Shivpal Yadav) would have competed with each other to loot resources and behenji (Mayawati) ke samay toh bhagwan hi maalik hota (only God could have saved behenji),” he remarked while speaking at ‘Samajik Pratinidhi Sammelan’ organised by the BJP in Lucknow to reach out to the OBC community. Continuing his diatribe on the Samajwadi Party, Adityanath said no one would have dared to open fire at Ram Bhakts on November 2, 1990, had there been a BJP government. “They were Ramdrohi (offenders of Lord Ram) who ordered firing at Ram Sewaks (servants) for vote-bank,” he said, referring to the then SP regime led by Mulayam Singh Yadav. “ Jo Ram ke nahi, woh humare kisi kaam ke nahi (Those who do not belong to Ram, do not belong to us,” Yogi said. Stepping up his attack, Yogi reiterated the ‘sarparast’ (supporter) of mafia were rattled by the action taken by the state government. He also questioned a recent meeting between the father of student leader Umar Khalid, an accused in a Delhi violence case, and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, charging the main Opposition party of hatching a conspiracy to destabilise the state government. “Opposition parties can go to any extent. You must have seen who recently came to meet the Samajwadi Party chief. It was the father of Umar Khalid who says ‘Bharat tere tukde honge (India will be balkanised)’,” he said. The chief minister alleged during Akhilesh’s tenure, he ignored children who died of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Gorakhpur, but had enough time to attend “manglik” functions of party workers. “During the SP regime, 1,500 children died of JE within two months (of Akhilesh coming to power), but the then CM did not have time to visit BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur. He was occupied with auspicious functions of the party workers,” he said. He further slammed the Opposition, including Congress, SP and BSP, of dividing society along caste lines for political gains and “throwing” the state into anarchy”. “Instead of standing by the poor and downtrodden, they mortgaged the state at the hands of mafia for their own welfare,” he charged. The CM maintained that under his government, mafia can’t “raise” their head or encroach upon property. Conveying a sharp political message, Adityanath said people did have the right to “feel proud” of their caste, but they “should give preference” to nationalism over casteism. “This will usher welfare,” he said at the convention, which was aimed to reach out to the ‘Nai’ (barber) sub-caste within the OBC block. He categorically invoked former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur who belonged to the Nai sub-caste, and termed him a leader who stood for social justice and democracy. “Thakur had to take refuge in Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur when the Congress imposed an Emergency in 1975.” The CM said the BJP government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking steps to elevate the status of backward castes. “The constitutional right given to the OBC Commission was an important step towards empowering backward sections,” he said. He also underscored the “living allowances” given to all sections of society irrespective of caste and religion at the peak of the pandemic. Likewise, the PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana was being implemented to address needs of affected people, he said. “Various schemes were being implemented for the welfare of various communities without discrimination. This was not the case under the previous SP regime, when houses were not given to the poor, but the SP workers. The poor were not provided with toilets or even electricity,” he said

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