The BJP, which is facing a tough battle in the Uttar Pradesh election from Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, has opened a new front against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister - over candidate lists.
A tweet on Sunday by Keshav Prasad Maurya, the state's deputy chief minister, asks Mr Yadav why candidate lists by the Samajwadi Party are not being made public, and what the party is afraid of.
श्री अखिलेश यादव जी समाजवादी पार्टी गठबंधन के प्रत्याशियों की सूची जारी करो !— Keshav Prasad Maurya (@kpmaurya1) January 23, 2022
क्या बात है जो जनता से छिपा रहे हो,सब जान गए हैं आप अंदर ही अंदर घबरा रहे हो !
Sources in the Samajwadi Party said the BJP's latest attacks are yet another attempt at polarising the crucial state election which is beginning from the western part of the state in less than 3 weeks. The BJP, which put in a commanding performance in west UP in the 2017 elections, appears to be on the back foot following a prolonged farmers' agitation that had the maximum impact in the western part of the state.
The frequency of shrill comments that appear to be against minorities, from the BJP's top Uttar Pradesh leaders starting from Chief Minister Adityanath, have intensified in the past week. On his Twitter timeline, the state chief minister has referred to "danga" or "riots" as many as 6 times in the past week.
Samajwadi party sources say if candidate lists are made public, the BJP will use them to further polarise the elections by highlighting the names of Muslim candidates on them and circulating the documents on social media. The SP-RLD alliance have named 13 Muslim candidates for 58 west UP seats polling in phase 1 of the election
On January 13, the Samajwadi Party did release an official list on social media and to the press with names of 29 candidates from the alliance but while more tickets have been handed out, lists have not been put in the public domain.
समाजवादी पार्टी - राष्ट्रीय लोकदल का गठबंधन— Samajwadi Party (@samajwadiparty) January 13, 2022
उत्तर प्रदेश में लाएगा परिवर्तन"
उत्तर प्रदेश विधानसभा चुनाव 2022 हेतु प्रत्याशियों की प्रथम सूची- pic.twitter.com/3xTanE906S
Ajju Ishaq, the Samajwadi Party candidate from the Koil assembly seat in Aligarh, said he was told of his candidature over a phone call from Lucknow. "What is there to hide?", asked Mr Ishaq, adding that candidate names become public anyway. "It is the BJP that wants to hide its incompetence", he countered.
Devendra Jakhad, District President for the Samajwadi Party in western Uttar Pradesh's Hapur said, "What does the BJP have to do with our lists? The BJP wants to polarise the election but we are not going to be scared of them."