Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the upcoming Uttar Pradesh election was the BJP’s fight against SCAM, an acronym that he used to refer to the Samajwadi Party, Congress, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati.
“Do you know what ‘Scam’ stands for? It is ‘S’ for Samajwadi Party, ‘C’ for Congress, ‘A’ for Akhilesh and ‘M’ for Mayawati,” Modi thundered at a rally in Meerut.
He tore into the pre-poll alliance between the ruling SP and its erstwhile rival Congress, asking what prompted the two parties to join hands ahead of the polls.
“The Congress used to criticise the UP government...The people who could not save themselves, how could they save UP?” Modi asked.
The Congress is looking to turn the tide in its favour after a string of election losses since the 2014 election. The SP, which is hit by a factional feud, is hoping to cash in on the perceived popularity of Akhilesh.
Expressing his resolve to weed out corruption, Modi attacked the his political rivals and urged people to boot out parties involved in graft and leaders who promoted caste and vote bank politics.
He also made a strong pitch for his government’s demonetisation exercise, asking voters to back his party so that “corruption and black money” could be eliminated.
“When I took the decision to demonetise high-value currency notes (of Rs 500 and Rs 1000), I knew that people who have stashed black money will gang up and bay for my blood. But I knew the people of this country are behind me,” he said, as the audience cheered.
Modi also criticised Akhilesh’s government over unemployment, saying the state’s youth did not have employment opportunities.
The PM said even if he wanted to help UP, his efforts will be thwarted. “If the state government has no intention, the money will go somewhere else.”
News agency ANI quoted Modi as saying that the BJP allocated Rs 4,000 crore to the Uttar Pradesh government for healthcare services “but they couldn’t even spend Rs 250 crore”.
In the seven-phase UP election, the Bharatiya Janata Party is up against the SP-Congress alliance and a resurgent Bahujan Samaj Party led by Dalit icon Mayawati.
(With agency inputs)