The upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh found a place in the Lok Sabha debate on Monday, with culture minister Mahesh Sharma slamming rivals in the state over communal politics.
Sharma started the debate amid protests from the Congress and took potshots at Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.
“One Netaji (or Mulayam) says Mulsims are with me. Some Behenji (or Mayawati) says they are with us. These people can’t let the country grow,” he said.
He claimed the BJP had never tried to differentiate on the basis of caste or creed.
In the seven-phase UP election, the BJP is up against the SP-Congress alliance and a resurgent BSP led by Dalit icon Mayawati. The Congress is looking to turn the tide in its favour after a string of election losses since the 2014 election. The SP, which is hit by a factional feud, is hoping to cash in on the perceived popularity of Akhilesh.
Talking about Uttar Pradesh, which has a high Muslim population, Sharma said there was a need to cater to all sections of the society.
“Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb has to be maintained,” he said, using the local term that speaks of the fusion of Hindu and Muslim cultures.
Sharma also spoke about the development of UP after the National Democratic Alliance government came to power.
“From 2012 to 2014, only four villages in UP were covered in the Centre’s electrification programme. Now (after NDA’s election win in 2014) 11,000 villages are electrified. We have set a target of electrifying more villages by 2018.”