Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday attacked the BJP, saying the party's 'double engine' model seems to have failed, with its central leadership not giving the Uttar Pradesh chief minister the seat of his choice to contest the state assembly polls.
While there was speculation that Yogi Adityanath may be fielded from Ayodhya, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said the party has decided to put him in the fray from Gorakhpur, his traditional political turf that he has represented in Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms.
Chief Minister Adityanath is willing to contest from any of the 403 seats in the state, the senior BJP leader said.
Speaking to reporters at the Samajwadi Party (SP) office, Mr Yadav said that there is "a chief minister who seeks a ticket, and does not get a ticket of his choice".
"Sadhus and seers say that if he comes to Faizabad (Ayodhya), then he will be given a farewell. The BJP has already given him a farewell by sending him off to Gorakhpur," he said.
Elections to the Uttar Pradesh assembly will be held in seven phases, starting from February 10, while counting of votes will be held on March 10, along with four other poll-bound states – Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.
Sharpening his attack on the BJP, the SP chief said, "In the fight between Lucknow and Delhi, I think that the engines in the 'double engine' government are colliding with each other." "At times, I feel that the 'Delhiwala' and the 'Lucknowwala' are trying to take out the wheels of each other's engine. I would like to congratulate them on the send-off to Gorakhpur," he said.
Mr Yadav also said that the BJP indulges in "negative politics".
"The BJP has been speaking lies, indulging in negative and divisive politics. It has indulged in politics of hatred and to make people fight each other. We will do positive politics, politics of development and prosperity. We will do social justice, and move forward taking everyone along (with us)," he said.
The SP chief said false surveys show a number of things, "but we know the ground reality, which is, they (BJP) are being beaten at the ground level".
He claimed that the chief minister did not want to inaugurate the Lion Safari in Etawah and it was Dara Singh Chauhan who inaugurated it.
The safari was built before 2017, when the SP was in power, and it was inaugurated by Chauhan, who recently resigned from the BJP and the state cabinet to Mr Yadav's party.
"At that point of time, I thought that I should take him (Chauhan) along. There is an English proverb 'strike the iron when it is hot'. But the BJP people do not know English, and even if they do know, they have gone into damage control or depression," he said.
Referring to Mr Adityanath eating ‘kichdhi' at a Dalit household on Makar Sankranti, Mr Yadav said, "With 'beman' (half-hearted approach) he was having the khichdhi, and he must have recalled that he has not seen soap or shampoo there.”
"Had there been shampoo or soap, then his mind would have been fine," Mr Yadav said "If the poor are not able to have shampoo, soap, food and oil, then the chief minister is responsible for it, and the double-engine government is responsible for it. This has been understood by every section of society," he said.
Mr Yadav said that if voted to power, the SP's government will conduct a caste census within three months.