UP assembly elections 2022: Yogi Adityanath is leading the BJP campaign in the state
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has called the election in India's most populous state an "80 versus 20 battle", in a highly controversial comment seen to imply a religious divide. The numbers citied by the BJP's Yogi Adityanath roughly correspond to the ratio of Hindus to Muslims in UP, where assembly elections will be held next month.
Yogi Adityanath was attending an event organised by a private news channel in state capital Lucknow when he was asked a question about Brahmin votes in UP.
"The contest has moved much ahead," the saffron-robed Chief Minister replied. "The fight is now 80 versus 20," he added.
The host of the session then said, "Owaisi says it is 19 per cent." Asaduddin Owaisi heads the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, or AIMIM.
Yogi Adityanath cut short the question by the host.
"80 per cent is those who are supporters of nationalism, good governance and development. Such people will vote for the BJP and those who are against this and supporters of mafias and criminals, anti-farmer and village, such 15-20 people will take a different path. So, in this 80-20 fight, it is the lotus that will show the way," the Chief Minister said, referring to the BJP's election symbol.
For the last few months, the Chief Minister has been using "abba jaan" or "people who say abba jaan" in what was seen as a barb against Muslims and his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party chief.
"Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, there is no place for appeasement politics... Before 2017, everyone was able to get ration? Only those who used to say abba jaan were digesting ration," Yogi Adityanath had said at an event in UP's Kushinagar on September 12 last year. The Samajwadi Party had lost the election in 2017.
UP will vote in seven phases starting February 10. Votes will be counted on March 10.