Campaigning for the BJP candidate in the Khatauli Assembly bypoll, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday invoked the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots and accused the rival SP-RLD alliance of “conspiring to establish Taliban-like rule” in the area.
“Samajwadi Party aur (Rashtriya) Lok Dal ki jodi phir se gunda tax ko prarambh karne ki saajish ka hissa bana hua hai… Kairana aur Kandhala jaise palayan ki saajish rach rahe hain… Phir se betiyan aur behne sadak pe na aaney payein…Taliban jaisa shaashan chahte hain [The alliance team of SP and RLD is a part of a conspiracy to bring back gunda tax (extortion). They are conspiring for a repeat of Kairana and Kandhala-like exodus. They want our daughters and sisters to not venture out on roads… They want Taliban-like rule],” Adityanath said at a public meeting in Khatauli ahead of the December 5 bypoll.
The chief minister called the murder of two men — Sachin and Gaurav — in Kawal that sparked the riots in 2013 a “black spot” in the then Samajwadi Party government’s tenure.
“Kawal ka bawal SP ka kalank hai (The riot in Kawal is a black spot on the SP)… It was because of the SP and RLD alliance government that Hindu youths and people of the area had to face atrocities… People can never forget the cruelty meted out to Sachin and Gaurav during the SP’s rule,” Adityanath said.
The murder of Sachin and Gaurav along with the killing of a third man, Shahnawaz, had then led to widespread riots across Muzaffarnagar, in which 62 people died and more than 50,000 were displaced.
The bypoll in Khatauli Assembly constituency in Muzaffarnagar district of west Uttar Pradesh has been necessitated by the disqualification of the local BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini following his conviction in a 2013 riots case. Saini and 10 others were sentenced to two years of imprisonment by a local MP/MLA court in October this year for rioting.
A month later, the Khatauli seat was declared vacant by the UP Legislative Assembly.
While the BJP has fielded Vikram Saini’s wife, Rajkumari Saini, the RLD, in alliance with the Samajwadi Party, has fielded former MLA Madan Bhaiyya. The contest is a bipolar one with other Opposition parties – the BSP and the Congress – staying away from the election. Gaurav’s mother Sureshwati is also in the fray as an Independent.
Gaurav’s father Ravindra Singh, who had campaigned for the BJP in the past, had earlier told The Indian Express that he fielded his wife in a bid to ensure the “defeat of BJP candidate”.
Defending Vikram Singh Saini, the CM said, “He lost his Assembly membership not because of some family issue, but because of trying to protect Muzaffarnagar’s dignity and self-respect. A politically motivated and fabricated case was imposed on him during the Samajwadi Party regime.”
Claiming that the “double engine” government – BJP ruling both at the Centre and in UP – has established the rule of law with strict actions against criminals, Adityanath said that he would not allow gangsters to extort people and they would be taught a lesson “in the language they understand”.
“Muzaffarnagar is safe and peaceful now because of the BJP government… Everyone can now see what is happening to them who had given shelter to those who had tortured Sachin and Gaurav-like youth in the area. Don’t let professional criminals of the Samajwadi Party come to power,” he said.
Calling west UP the “land of religion”, Adityanath said that whenever religion was in crisis in the past, the region witnessed “kranti” (revolution).
Talking about Kanwar Yatra, Adityanath said he had issued orders to develop the “Gang Nahar” route for Kanwar after approval from the Forest Department. The chief minister also spoke about the Ram Temple construction, the development of Kashi Vishwanath Dham and the work in Mathura and Vrindavan. “Aastha ka samman BJP karti hai ab sandeh hi nahi hona chahiye (That the BJP respects the faith, no one should have doubt on it),” he added.