Ghaziabad/New Delhi: Firebrand BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has compared the situation in western Uttar Pradesh to that in Indian-administered-Kashmir in 1990s, when Kashmiri Pandits had to flee the Valley, while the party defended its leaders over their controversial remarks during the poll campaign on alleged exodus of Hindu families from Kairana. "Western Uttar Pradesh is following in the footsteps of Kashmir. In 1990, Kashmir Pandits were forced to migrate in large numbers. "Crime, corruption and 'goondaraj' are at their peak in Uttar Pradesh. Like there was exodus in Kashmir in 1990, similar is the situation in Kairana (in Shamli) and other districts where the failure to act shows that the criminals are emboldened.... "Till when will the state government continue its vote bank politics at the cost of security in the state," the Gorakhpur MP said at election meetings in Loni and Sahibabad on Monday evening.
His remarks came even as BJP MLA Suresh Rana, an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, was booked on Monday by Uttar Pradesh Police on charges of inciting hatred after he said at a meeting that curfew will be imposed in Kairana, Deoband and Moradabad if he is elected again in assembly polls next month.
Asked about Aditynath's remarks, BJP's UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya on Tuesday said that the situation in Western Uttar Pradesh was "very bad" and accused the Samajwadi Party government of giving patronage to goons who were responsible for migration of people.
"Something which has happened due to the failure of the government and if some of our leaders have talked about it, what wrong have they done," he said when asked if action will be taken against the leaders for their alleged communal remarks.
Kicking up a row, BJP MP Hukum Singh had in June last year claimed that close to 350 Hindus had left Kairana over alleged threats and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community. Singh, however, had later done a U-turn saying it was not a communal matter. He had alleged that the ruling Samajwadi Party was preventing action against anti-social elements responsible for the exodus since they happened to be its supporters, a charge rejected by the state government.
Sticking to his remarks, Adityanath ton Tuesday insisted that these should should not be seen as communal. "I have not named any caste, community, religion. We are not dividing people on the ground of religion. It is not communal politics," he insisted.
"The situation in western UP is akin to what happened in Kashmir in 1990s. I ask people there, do not elect those who have caused this migration. The BJP is giving you a guarantee of security. "If elected to power, the BJP will ensure that migration doesn't take place from these regions, district collectors will be responsible for this. A special task force will be formed for the purpose," he told reporters on Parliament premises.
Asked if the situation in western UP was actually akin to the one in Jammu and Kashmir in 90s, when militancy forced Kashmiri Pandits to migrate to other places, Adityanath replied, "Go to the region to check ground realities first hand."
The MP said the BJP is for both development and security of locals and dismissed allegations that his comments were communal. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) probe into Hukum Singh's claims had found that many families "migrated" from Kairana due to threats pertaining to "increase in crime" and "deterioration" of law and order there.
On the other hand, countering the NHRC, the National Commission for Minorities had said that people of both Hindu and Muslim communities had left Kairana to pursue better business opportunities in other places. They said the people had not migrated due to fear from a particular community.
Leaders of BJP, which has been out of power in Uttar Pradesh for last 15 years, have made it clear that the "exodus" issue will be raised in a big way.. Maurya said, "The situation in western UP is very bad. SP government is responsible for that. Thousands of people had to leave their homes and family, especially because of the goons who are under the state government's patronage.
"Government has not taken any action against the goons and those who have left, the government should bring them back. BJP in its manifesto has clearly said that if its comes to power, provisions will be made to bring back those who have left.
"Also efforts will be made so that such a situation does not happen in the future. A task force will be created. Those goons who are responsible for such a situation, action will be taken against them." "We will see. We will study what legal action has been taken. No action from the party," he said on possible action against party leaders for their controversial remarks .
At the election meeting on Monday evening, Adityanath attacked the ruling Samajwadi Party and Mulayam Singh Yadav's clan, saying only one family had prospered under the SP rule. He claimed that the Centre had given Rs2.5 lakh crore for development works to the state but there is nothing to show for it.
"The uncle and his nephew, the father and his son are fighting with each other for the division of money," he said.
"Only BJP can bring good governance in the state. People should not remain a mute spectator and should come out to vote for the party, which is taking the country in the right direction. to ensure that Uttar Pradesh gets its righful place," he said.
Addressing the gathering, Union Minister and local MP V. K. Singh also appealed to the voters to support BJP.