- Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hit back at PM Modi today
- Mr Yadav questioned BJP's use of non-political platforms for campaigns
- His jab came after PM Modi targeted him in a series of sarcastic comments
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi, again, used a government event to take pot-shots at his rivals ahead of elections due in two months, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav hit back swiftly, questioning the ruling BJP's use of non-political platforms for campaign purposes.
Mr Yadav highlighted the use of government buses to ferry crowds of people back and forth from lavish events held by the BJP - ostensibly to inaugurate infrastructure projects - but which wind up being platforms for the Prime Minister or Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to launch political attacks.
"Has any political party used buses like this in the past? Have any District Collectors written letters asking for buses and people to be arranged like this... these are all political rallies that are happening. Has the BJP managed to hold any actual political rallies till now?" Mr Yadav asked.
This isn't the first time Mr Yadav has called out the BJP for its double-use of government events; last month, at a political rally, the Samajwadi Party leader claimed the difference between his party's events and that of the BJP's was people "coming on their own" and "brought" for meetings".
Akhilesh Yadav's sharp attacks came minutes after the Prime Minister, in Balrampur, took (now customary) pot-shots at the opposition party.
"I was waiting since morning... (for someone to take credit)" PM Modi said - a not-so-subtle dig at Mr Yadav, who has slammed the BJP for, he feels, taking plaudits for infrastructure projects initiated when his party was in power between 2012 and 2017.
Mr Yadav responded to PM Modi via a press conference in Lucknow, at which he jumped on the BJP's catchphrase for this election - 'fark saaf hai', or 'the difference is clear' - to hit back.
"The BJP is about to complete five years in power... but they have not even had time to look at their 'sankalp patra' (manifesto). They are spending more in ads, banners, hoardings... They talk of employment and investment... how many MoUs have translated into something on ground," he began.
Mr Yadav's dig about employment comes less than a week after shocking videos of police in Lucknow using lathis to break a candlelight protest against alleged irregularities in a 2019 competitive exam.
In 2017 the BJP, as part of its election manifesto, had promised a massive 70 lakh jobs. Since then, they've only created about 4.5 lakh - something Mr Yadav has been quick to highlight.
"Samajwadi Party gave students laptops... BJP rained lathis on youth. 'fark saaf hai'. Samajwadi Party gave metros and expressways... BJP is selling dreams of 'Kyoto'. 'fark saaf hai'," Mr Yadav said today.
"I am happy the government has not been able to deny there was work on Saryu between 2012-2017," he also said, sidestepping a swipe about the BJPs "'double-engine ki sarkaar' completing the work".
"They don't want to work... they only like cutting ribbons," Akhilesh Yadav said, taking a swipe of his own after the Prime Minister's busy schedule inaugurating projects in UP ahead of the election.