Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday tore into Akhilesh Yadav government, alleging it was 'sheltering' and 'nursing' crime and corruption and asserted that this Uttar Pradesh election was about ending the 14-year 'exile of growth' in the state.
Addressing 'Parivartan Sankalp Rally' in Ghaziabad on the penultimate day of campaigning for the first phase of polls, Modi said Akhilesh has disappointed those who had high hopes of him and has ‘destroyed’ the state in last five years. He also took a dig at Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance, saying, Samajwadi Party had stepped in a ‘sinking boat’.
"Is this poll about choosing a new government, or about electing a new Chief Minister? This election is about ending 14 years of exile of growth (vikas ka vanvas) in UP and replacing it with growth and prosperity," he said, alluding to Ramayana.
In his nearly 45-minute address, Modi, who represents Varanasi in Lok Sabha, attacked the Akhilesh-led government on several fronts, including law and order, even as he made promises of 'rectifying the wrongs' committed by the state government.
"When Akhilesh came, we felt he is young and educated and will try to do some good. Par nirash kar dia, paanch saalo ke andar UP ka vinash kar diya (But he has disappointed us, destroyed UP in five years," Modi said.
"They keep attacking me, and accuse that I have not kept promises. I tell you, I will give answer to the public in 2019, but Akhilesh government must answer to the people as it had ruled it for the last five years.
"If you do no answer in Uttar Pradesh, who will you make it Uttam Pradesh," Modi said.
The prime minister also accused the SP government of ‘sheltering crime’ and nursing ‘goondas’ and ‘sitting blindfold’ over corruption in the state.
"Today, women fear to venture out after dark in the state. Young girls are scared of going to schools.
"This evil has been sheltered by the ruling party leaders in the state. It is nursing the criminals.
"The law and order has failed as powerful people with protection of the ruling party are controlling police in their areas,” Modi alleged.
"There is corruption in jobs, poor farmers and middle-class people’s lands have been snatched away. There are 40,000 complaints registered under the Arms Act," he said.
If the Bharatiya Janata Party forms a government in UP, Modi said, "I promise you we will form a special task force to ensure that lands looted from farmers and middle-class people would be restored."
"We have also been asking for CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) audit of irregularities in GDA (Ghaziabad Development Authority) but the UP government has not agreed. Once we form a government in UP, we will ensure that GDA and other development authorities are audited," he said.
IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the BJP's Parivartan Sankalp Rally in Ghaziabad on Wednesday. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo