The occasion may have been the ground-breaking ceremony for the Noida International Airport but Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday was seen landing his latest diatribe against Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, in an all-out race to settle political scores ahead of state elections now less than three months away.
Rebutting comments by his rival, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, which he has already assailed multiple times this month, Adityanath said the country has to pick between "the sweetness of sugarcane" or "mischief by followers of Jinnah" in the state.
"Some people had tried to add bitterness in the sugarcane region (western parts) of Uttar Pradesh with a series of riots. Now the country has to decide if the sweetness of sugarcane will grow or Jinnah's followers will cause mischief," Adityanath said, as he addressed the gathering of thousands in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
मौक़ा “NOIDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT” के शिलान्यास का— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) November 25, 2021
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Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had last month listed Jinnah along with Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru, saying they all helped India achieve independence.
"Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah studied at the same institute and became barristers. They became barristers and they fought for India's freedom. They never backed away from any struggle," said the Samajwadi Party chief, addressing a rally.
His remarks had invited severe criticism from the ruling BJP, among others with Yogi Adityanath calling it "shameful" and a sign of "Talibani mentality".
"The Samajwadi Party chief yesterday compared Jinnah to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. This is shameful. It's the Talibani mentality that believes in dividing. Sardar Patel united the country. Currently, under the leadership of PM (Prime Minister Narendra Modi), work is underway to achieve 'Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat (One India, Best India)," Adityanath had said.