The upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh are not to decide an MLA, a minister or a chief minister, the elections are to decide the future course of the state for the next 20 years, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said.
Addressing a 'Prabhaavi Matdaata Samwad' (Effective Voter Dialogue) in Greater Noida, the senior BJP leader lashed out at the previous state governments helmed by the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party over a host of issues, including law and order.
He also trained guns at the Congress along with the SP and the BSP over their opposition to abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, besides asserting BJP's commitment to national and internal security as he cited the surgical strikes on Pakistan and the action against criminal elements in UP.
Shah said the state had witnessed mafia rule and open extortion during the previous governments but stressed that the situation has changed over the last five years under the Yogi Adityanath government.
"The upcoming polls are not to decide an MLA, or a minister or a chief minister. The elections are to decide the future course for the next 20 years of Uttar Pradesh," he told a gathering that involved Gautam Buddh Nagar voters, including local farmers, traders, professionals and teachers.
"When we look back at the past 20 years, there were governments of 'Bua-Bhatija'. There was mafia rule and to such an extent that nobody was ready make investment in the state. There was an era of open extortion," Shah said, referring to BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav.
Talking further about the previous non-BJP governments, he alleged that there would be no legal action against mafia elements if they belonged to a particular community but Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath "fixed" the law and order situation in the state.
"But today, Azam Khan is in jail, Ateeq Ahmed is in jail, Mukhtar Ansar is also in jail. There are so many cases registered against them that even a notebook would run out of pages," he said, adding there would be no action against them in the past.
Shah was in Greater Noida to seek support for the BJP's Dadri candidate Tejpal Nagar with a door-to-door campaign in the constituency that goes to vote on February 10.Shah said the BJP is not seeking votes by highlighting the bad works of SP but instead by reaching out to the people with the work that the saffron party has done and will do in the future.
The rivals talk about working for the backwards but while in Centre they never cared about them, he said, adding it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi under whose tenure the National Commission for Backward Classes became a constitutional body.
Citing surgical strikes after Uri and Pulwana terror attacks, he said when the Congress-led UPA government was at the Centre no party dared to question the country's security at borders even if intruders killed Indian soldiers at will and dishonoured their bodies.
He said when the BJP-led NDA came to power, some parties opposed the bill to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir but after re-election in 2019 with a two-third mandate, PM Modi did it.
Shah, also the Union Minister of Cooperation, took a swipe at Samajwadi Party over the recent raids by tax agencies on premises of some businessmen in UP which led to recovery of crores in cash.
In a veiled reference to Muzaffarnagar riots and Kairana exodus, he said, "I have been to western UP which bore the brunt of riots from 2012 to 2017. Thousands of people were charged and put behind bars. The victims became accused and the accused became victims."
"Nowhere an investigation is done the way it was done here (western UP) after the 2012 riots," the home minister remarked, hitting out at the former CM.
He said Akhilesh Yadav would often take a dig at the BJP over construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
"But I want to tell him, Akhilesh babu, the foundation has been laid now and very soon an imposing temple of Shri Ram will be made there," Shah said.
"The Kashi Vishwanath corridor is also being made. The portion destroyed by Aurangzeb has also been rebuilt and with this PM Modi has worked to respect the faith of devotees across the world," he added.Shah cautioned voters against getting dissuaded by the caste-based political assurances of opposition parties and said the BJP was working for development without any discrimination and listed out works completed in last five years by the Adityanath government.