Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday fended off Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's criticism, and defended the performance of his government during the Muzaffarnagar riots as well as actor Salman Khan's performance at Saifai festival.
In an exclusive interview with Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary, Akhilesh Yadav, while referring to Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, said arrogant leaders face defeat. His statement comes a day after Modi tore into the father-son duo of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, saying they had destroyed the state.
Ridiculing Modi for his “56-inch chest” remarks, Yadav said that the Gujarat CM does not know anything about the UP districts. He added that the SP will not let communal parties win in the state.
Commenting on Arvind Kejriwal-style politics, Akhilesh said no other cap can compete with the 'red cap' of the Samajwadi Party.
He also hailed the performance of his government during Muzaffarnagar riots.
Describing Muzaffarnagar riots as 'tragic', he said that his government left no stone unturned in preventing the situation from worsening. His government has been blamed by critics for mishandling the situation in Muzaffarnagar when communal riots broke out in the district last year and the poor condition in relief camps where the victims were housed. The ruling Samajwadi Party has also been condemned for allegedly forcing eviction of victims of the riots from relief camps where they had sought shelter.
Acknowledging that children died in the relief camps due to cold, Yadav said his government tried to assist those in need. Children died not only in camps but also in the hospitals around camps, Yadav said, adding that the Samajwadi Party has extended help to people across all the communities and not tried to politicise the issue.
Defending the grand festival organised at his ancestral village Saifai, which included dance performance by Bollywood stars, Yadav said the event has been going on for several years. It is much awaited as a number of sportspersons are felicitated, which never get any coverage. The festival is very important for students, artists and local businessmen, who get a good chance to sell their products, but the attention was just on Bollywood night.
Commenting on the expenditure on the Saifai festival, Yadav said only Rs 1 crore was given from the state's cultural department, for which there is a provision in the budget. Rest of the amount was spent by the mela committee.
When asked about the criticism over the timing of the festival when thousands were suffering in riot-affected Muzaffarnagar, Yadav said his party respects artists. Everybody noticed Salman Khan's dance, but not the charity he did. Salman not just performed, but also visited a government-run hospital in the village and decided to help children in need, the chief minister said.