With an eye on UP assembly elections, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday launched a broadside against the Congress for adopting "anti-Muslim policies" and said in comparison, BJP was a "lesser evil" in dealing with minorities in the state.
"Whenever BJP has ruled, Muslims have not been been exploited... despite a couple of communal riots, their exploitation has been less," Yadav told a press conference in New Delhi.
When asked whether he believed that the 2002 Gujarat riots could be termed as "minor issue," Yadav clarified that he was only referring to Uttar Pradesh and not the rest of India.
"They (BJP) have created problems in the country. The Gujarat Chief Minister himself carried out (2002 post-Godhra) riots as the party thought that it was the opportune moment to target Muslims," Yadav alleged.
Asked why BJP was better than Congress in dealing with minorities, the SP leader claimed that due to his party's strong base, the BJP was scared of exploiting minorities.
"But Congress is arrogant. It is not concerned about our protests. But we will tackle it," he said.
In a statement issued after the press conference, Yadav demanded booking Mumbai Police Crime Branch officials who picked up Faiz Usmani, the brother of an Ahmedabad blast accused Afzal Usmani, for murder.
Faiz was picked for questioning in connection with the July 13 triple bombings from his residence and was later rushed to hospital after he complained of uneasiness, where he died.
"They should be arrested immediately and the case should be probed by a high powered team of human rights commission," he said in the statement.