Lord Krishna is the recurring theme in the latest political battle in Uttar Pradesh, starring Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his challenger Akhilesh Yadav.
Lord Krishna "must be cursing" those who were in power and did nothing for Mathura and Vrindavan, Yogi Adityanath said today at a government event in Aligarh, just days before election dates are announced in Uttar Pradesh.
"Some people must be seeing Lord Krishna in their dreams and must be telling them to at least cry now on your failures. What you could not do, the BJP government has done. Lord Krishna must be cursing them because he must be telling them when you were in power you did nothing for places like Mathura and Vrindavan," he said, referring to the two holy cities in UP linked to Hindu God Krishna.
He did not name Akhilesh Yadav, who had last evening commented that Lord Krishna had told him in his dreams that he would come to power in Uttar Pradesh.
"Last night, Lord Krishna came in my dreams and said you are going to form the government. He did not come once but comes each day," the former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief said on Monday.
It all started when a BJP leader invoked Krishna in the context of speculation over Yogi Adityanath contesting the election.
"Last night twice I had dreams that Yogi Adityanath ji should fight from Mathura and I felt that Lord Krishna was directing me to act as a mediator," said Harnath Singh Yadav, a BJP Rajya Sabha member, implying that the Chief Minister would contest from a constituency different from his hometown Gorakhpur.
Yogi Adityanath, a former MP from Gorakhpur -- where he is also the head priest at the famous Gorakhnath temple -- did not contest the 2017 state election and is a member of UP's legislative council.
But ahead of the 2022 state election due in February, sources say there is pressure on the Chief Minister to contest from either Ayodhya or Mathura, as that would appeal to the party's core Hindutva vote-base.
Last week, Yogi Adityanath had told reporters he would contest from wherever the party wants him to.
Akhilesh Yadav is an MP from east Uttar Pradesh but has never contested a state election. In the last few months, he has flip-flopped over whether he will debut in the approaching polls. He first told a news agency he would not contest. Later, he said he may contest.
"Wherever the party asks me to fight elections I will. Try and remember where Netaji (his father Mulayam Singh Yadav) fought the elections from," Mr Yadav said.
No Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in the last 15 years, including Mayawati, has contested state elections.