Akhilesh Yadav today said surveys favouring the BJP in Uttar Pradesh ahead of elections next month were "opium polls, not opinion polls". He also called UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath the "biggest liar".
"These are not opinion polls. These are opium polls. We don't know in what drugged state they are showing such figures and data," Akhilesh Yadav told NDTV in an exclusive interview, defending his demand for a ban on the opinion polls shown on some TV channels in the run-up to the UP polls next month.
The Samajwadi Party chief asserted that the polls favoured the BJP without producing any facts or substantiation.
"Their MLAs are unable to enter constituencies. They are being beaten up. Their MPs are attacked. Most of all, their Deputy Chief Minister is humiliated. A party whose MLA, MP and minister are being humiliated like this and when it is obvious that the public is against them, then what opinion poll are they showing? They are trying to mislead people," he remarked.
Every person, he said, was impacted by inflation and unemployment yet the BJP did not talk about it. "If inflation doubles and earnings halve, then how can there be any happiness," the former Chief Minister wondered.
"They will run fake videos, make false promises and put out fake ads. They showed a Bengal flyover in UP. They were showing Chinese airports. They were showing a US office in their ads. Their every promise was a jumla."
The BJP, he said, had been prepared for virtual rallies. "Their studios were all ready. They knew there was a possibility of digital campaigning, so they kept their infrastructure ready. Did they know the Election Commission would ban physical rallies?" Mr Yadav questioned.
But he clarified that he was not raising questions on the Election Commission's decisions.
Mr Yadav hit back at Yogi Adityanath's derisive comments on his free electricity promise.
"Thieves don't like a moonlit night. Those who are promising free electricity kept people in the darkness for years," the UP Chief Minister had said.
Akhilesh Yadav retorted: "What does the Chief Minister know about electricity factors? There is no bigger a liar than the CM. He should tell us whether he has set up a single electricity unit in the past four-and-a-half years."
Mr Yadav also tackled the BJP's criticism over his reported comments that China is the real enemy while Pakistan is a "political enemy" targeted by the ruling party for vote politics.
"I said the same on Pakistan that our late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat used to say. He had said that China is our biggest enemy. Can I not quote Bipin Rawat?
On his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav joining the BJP last week, Mr Yadav said the BJP splits families but his party did not drag anyone's family into the fight.
"If we wanted we could also cause fights within many BJP homes," Mr Yadav grinned.
Uttar Pradesh will vote in seven phases from February 10. The results will be declared on March 10.