Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today said that his party's alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) was not a toxic concoction, as claimed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, but a force of change that would help bring a new government to the centre.
Mr Yadav's declaration at a joint rally with alliance partners in Uttar Pradesh's Deoband came in response to a jibe by PM Modi at a rally last month, wherein he combined the initial syllables of the three opposition parties ('sa' of Samajwadi Party, 'ra' of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and 'ba' of the Bahujan Samaj Party) and called them Sarab, similar to the Hindi word for liquor - Sharab. "For Uttar Pradesh's good health and for India's future, should you not stay away from sarab (liquor)? Sapa, RLD, Baspa, ye 'sarab' aapko barbaad kar degi (this toxic liquor will destroy you)," he had said to the accompaniment of raucous laughter from BJP supporters.
The remark drew a sharp response from the opposition, with its leaders saying that such crude language was not expected from a Prime Minister.
"It looks like the people who talk about liquor are on a heady trip of some kind. Our alliance is not a toxic concoction but a force of change. It is an alliance that will bring about a new Prime Minister," Mr Yadav said at today's event, also attended by BSP chief Mayawati and RLD president Ajit Singh.
The Samajwadi Party chief also accused PM Modi of indulging in roleplay ahead of every Lok Sabha election, only to let the people down after being voted in. He, however, maintained that the ruling BJP's tricks won't work this time.
"In 2014, we trusted a chaiwala (tea seller) to deliver on several promises, including employment generation and development. He did not do that, and instead, we are now being told to vote for a chowkidar (watchman). But the people have seen through his ruse. This time, they will help us ensure the removal of these so-called chowkidars from their chowkis (guard posts), and we will get a new Prime Minister," news agency PTI quoted Mr Yadav as saying.
Mayawati told the people that voting for the Congress, which is fighting the polls separately, would only help the BJP. "Don't split your votes. The Congress is not strong enough to give a tough fight to BJP... only the grand alliance can fight the BJP," she said, adding that her remarks were particularly addressed to "people of the Muslim community".
(With inputs from PTI)
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.