Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said there were many loopholes in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto, especially with regard to the construction of the Ram Mandir, and cautioned and warned that the latter is politicising religious issues to gain votes.
Giving an exclusive interview to ANI, Yadav said, "There are many issues with the BJP manifesto and people would like answers to unanswered questions. The party said they would construct the Ram Mandir within the constitutional framework, and, this is not a small, but a big question."
"I had said this one year back that being communal is easy, but being secular is difficult. If I work for the people without differentiating, they say that I am working only for Muslims. They use religion as a weapon, and therefore, they have turned religious slogans into political ones," he said.
"They have done this at many rallies. Everyone saw what they said at their rally in Varanasi. They turned religious slogans into political ones. But the people are smart, they know what's happening," he added.
He further said the party is moving away from its main focus and presenting a vague picture of the future.
"Today, the main focus of the party should be to take the nation on the path of progress, development, communal harmony and reduce poverty. They are saying they want to bring FDI in retail, but they are not thinking about the fact that it would adversely affect the domestic market and businessmen," Yadav said.
"There are many states in the country in which the BJP did not win a majority of the seats. Be it in Tamil Nadu, Odisha or West Bengal. Now, they want to get a majority of the seats in UP, but that would not happen. The Samajwadi Party has done a lot for the state and the people are aware of that," he said.
"I had fulfilled whatever I had promised to the people of UP in our manifesto and have done a lot of concrete work in the past two years, but their (BJP) manifesto is equally vague as to the kind of work they do," he added.
He described the Muzaffarnagar riots as an extremely unfortunate incident and rejected allegations that he had a biased approach in helping the victims, and was more inclined to helping Muslims.
"It was an extremely unfortunate event and two sections of people would definitely suffer for it. One are the victims of the riot, and the second is our party who will always be blamed for it as an incident that happened when our government is in power," said Yadav.
"We did our best to give relief to the people, and, we took quick action. In fact, no other government in the country would have helped the victims the way our government did. But during the course of providing relief to the victims, we were accused of only helping the Muslims," he said.
"Even the Supreme Court has accepted that our party did not differentiate on the basis of religion, or in any other way in helping the people," he added.
He also charged the BJP with spending huge amounts of money on advertising during the election campaign.
"The amount of money that these big parties are investing for advertising their leaders is huge, and we haven't done even half of that. We never advertise, as we believe in doing concrete work rather than advertising," Yadav said.
"A few days back, a leader of a big party said that his party's prime ministerial candidate is a good event manager. Now, if I translate the term for event manager in Hindi, the EC might send a notice to me," he said.
Things are changing, and therefore, advertising might have become inevitable. I am not against it, but I am only saying that I do not want the public to get influenced by them, as it would promote corruption. I want them to only look at the kind of work a party is doing or has done for them," he added.