Akhilesh Yadav’s ‘donkey’ remark targeting the Prime Minister triggered a sharp reaction from the Gujarat BJP, which accused the Uttar Pradesh chief minister of “insulting” the people of the western state.
The BJP leaders in the home state of Narendra Modi also took a swipe at Akhilesh over his tussle for power with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying that unlike him, donkeys are loyal and he should learn from the animal.
“Akhilesh Yadav, by appealing to Amitabh Bachchan that he should not ‘campaign for the donkeys’ of the state, has insulted Gujarat,” state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said.
Akhilesh had on Monday targeted Modi and BJP president Amit Shah as he “appealed” to Bachchan not to “campaign for the donkeys of Gujarat”. Bachchan is the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism.
“The UP Chief Minister is facing defeat in his state but that does not give him a licence to insult people of Gujarat,” Vaghani said.
BJP leaders also taunted Akhilesh saying he does not know the difference between wild asses, which are found in Gujarat, and donkeys.
“Bachchan (who belongs to Uttar Pradesh and whose wife is a Samajwadi Party MP) is a superstar and is well-known all over the world. By becoming brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism, he has helped in growth of tourism. This only shows Akhilesh’s jealousy on the progress Gujarat has made,” he added.
Vaghani also asked the Congress, which has tied up with the Samajwadi Party in UP, if that party endorses Akhilesh’s remark.
BJP spokesperson Harshad Patel said, “Donkeys are loyal to their owners. Akhilesh should learn from donkeys to stay loyal to his father. He has nothing to say about development work done by his government so he is trying to rake up non-existent issues.”
BJP youth leader Amit Thakkar, also director of Gujarat Tourism Corporation, said that Akhilesh does not know the difference between donkeys and wild asses.
“Wild asses, called ‘Ghudkhar’ in local parlance, are a different species from donkeys, and are uniquely found in Gujarat only. Gujarat has a dedicated sanctuary for them. However, I don’t expect a UP leader to understand the difference,” Thakkar said.
The Congress, meanwhile, took a dig at the state government, saying the BJP has given a chance to those outside to make fun of Gujarat by promoting wild-asses, instead of focusing on the state’s heritage and rare animal species.
“The BJP has given a chance to those outside the state to criticise Gujarat by advertising about wild-asses. They should have advertised about other rare species of animals and birds found in the state and our cultural heritage,” Congress leader and party’s national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil.