Modi, Mulayam trade barbs at election rallies

 03 Mar 2014 - 3:59


New Delhi:  Uttar Pradesh was the scene of hectic political campaigning yesterday with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi taking on the ruling Samajwadi Party while Mulayam Singh Yadav in a counter-attack blamed him for the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is on a political roadshow in the state, attacked both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and announced he would be going to Gujarat this week to check on the development claims made by Chief Minister Modi.
Modi, addressing a large rally in Lucknow, criticised Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav over the recent riots in Uttar Pradesh.
“There have been 150 riots (since the Samajwadi Party took power in the state in 2012),” Modi told an election rally, and asked Mulayam Singh Yadav to stop comparing Uttar Pradesh with Gujarat.
In response to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s condemnation yesterday of the 2002 riots in Gujarat when Modi was chief minister, Modi said there has been no communal violence in Gujarat in the past 10 years.
The BJP leader also hit out at External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, without taking his name. Khurshid had recently described Modi as “politically impotent”.
Alluding to Khurshid as “a minister who travels around the world”, Modi said the minister swindled money from funds meant for the disabled.
He was referring to the controversy over an NGO run by Khurshid and his wife in his constituency of Farrukhabad. The NGO was accused of alleged bungling of funds meant for the disabled.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, in a scathing attack, referred to Modi as “a killer of humanity”.
Addressing a large gathering at the parade ground in Allahabad, Mulayam Singh Yadav took on the Congress as well, saying both the major parties were detrimental for the country’s prosperity.
The Samajwadi Party chief made fun of BJP President Rajnath Singh’s overtures to Muslims, saying “after (committing) mass murders, the BJP is now seeking an apology. Can this be accepted?”
He said Modi’s charisma would not work in Uttar Pradesh and also denounced the so-called Gujarat model of development.
Former Delhi chief minister Kejriwal, meanwhile, accused political parties of dividing people on religious lines to seek votes.
Addressing an election rally in Kanpur, Kejriwal questioned Gujarat’s model of development and Modi.
“We have heard a lot about the supposed development of Gujarat. We will visit Gujarat from March 5 to 8 to see the development claimed there,” the AAP leader said.
“I want to learn about the development. But if there is no development, then it should be exposed.”
Kejriwal particularly targeted Modi.
“It is said he (Modi) was a tea seller. How come a tea seller has helicopters to travel?
“Have you ever heard of Modiji speak against (Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law) Robert Vadra? Is there a setting with Vadra,” he asked, pointing out that it was he who had exposed Vadra’s dubious land dealings in Haryana.
Kejriwal said the BJP and the Congress joined hands to challenge a first information report his AAP government had filed against industrialist Mukesh Ambani.