Narendra Modi will not be able to realise his dream of becoming prime minister despite his "marketing gimmicks", says Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and claims that the BJP strongman's candidature from Varanasi will not affect Samajwadi Party or its votes. 40-year-old Akhilesh also alleged that the saffron party tried to take political mileage from the Muzaffarnagar riots. Unfazed by the hype surrounding Modi, he claimed that it cannot prevent Samajwadi Party, which won 23 seats in 2009, from bettering its performance.
"BJP and Modi know that they cannot do anything without Uttar Pradesh so they are trying to build a hype. But they will not gain anything outside Varanasi. We will retain all our seats close to Varanasi be it Ghazipur, Mirzapur or Chandauli and netaji (Mulayam) himself is contesting from Azamgarh," he told PTI in an interview. "I don't think that Modi's candidature from Varanasi will affect my government or my party or voters. Uttar Pradesh has seen such forces many times and people know who have done work and who does mere talking," he said.
The SP leader also criticised BJP which, he said, tried to take benefit of the situation after the Muzaffarnagar riots. "They wanted to take benefit of the situation to establish themselves but failed. After the first phase of polling, nobody is talking about Muzaffarnagar as they know that people have voted for SP. Modiji and BJP were talking about Muzaffarnagar but now they are not," he told PTI. "I am 100% sure that Modi will not become the prime minister despite all marketing gimmicks. We will see that after May 16. SP will stop him (Modi) in Uttar Pradesh. The state has 80 seats and it will not let him become the prime minister. BJP is also not winning in southern states, Odisha or Bihar, so how is it is so confident of forming the next government," he said.
"In Maharashtra, BJP is willing to join hands with MNS, a party which is anti-north Indians. MNS is against people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar so how will people from these states vote for Modi," the chief minister, whose wife Dimple is also in the Lok Sabha poll fray contesting from Kannauj, asked. According to Akhilesh, the third front will come to power and SP will play a major role in it. He also claimed that his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will emerge as the most acceptable leader of a third front government.
Apart from seeking re-election from Mainpuri, 74-year-old Mulayam is also contesting from Azamgarh parliamentary seat. "Since there are 80 Parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh and Samajwadi Party will get most of them, it will emerge as the single largest party among the third front partners. And obviously, its party supremo will be the most acceptable candidate for the (top) post," Akhilesh said.
"All the leaders from the third front parties will decide who is most acceptable to lead the front. Whoever wins more seats will have a better chance and SP is going to win maximum seats in UP," he claimed.
Ridiculing Modi's development model in Gujarat, Akhilesh said he did not find any progress in that state during his maiden visit last week.
"I was in Gujarat for the first time and did not find any schemes like free irrigation water, laptop distribution, reducing unemployment. There is acute shortage of water. As far as law and order is concerned, they say that girls do garba dance even after midnight in Gujarat. When I asked people about it they said that they used to do it prior to the Modi government. During his regime garba gets over by 12 pm," he added.