The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday blamed the Congress for diverting Uttar Pradesh voters' attention from development to caste and religion issues ahead of the February-March assembly polls.
Addressing the annual general meeting at industry chamber FICCI, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said development was the main issue in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming polls, but the Congress played "divisive politics" and diverted public attention from the real issue.
Stating that the high point of 2010 assembly elections in Bihar was change of agenda, with development becoming the major issue, Jaitley said the same was expected in Uttar Pradesh this time.
“I thought it was about to happen in Uttar Pradesh, and suddenly someone came and said it will take up a divisive issue, and development went on back track,” Jaitley said.
He was referring to the Congress' announcement of nine percent reservation for minorities within the other backward classes (OBC) quota, which the BJP has been opposing.
Polling to the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly will take place in seven phases from February 8 to March 3.
Jaitley also accused the central government of ignoring economic development by being indecisive.
“Political disagreement should be overlooked when the country faces a challenging situation. For industry, that challenging time is now,” Jaitley said.
He, however, accused the government of lack of leadership, resulting in pessimism in the industry.
“When you see leadership lacking (in government), pessimism sets in before we get into a crisis. We need to realise it,” he said.
Jaitley also blamed the central ministers. “You can't have a government where most of the ministers are either too arrogant or sulking,” he said.
He appreciated finance minister Pranab Mukherjee saying he tried to build consensus on the pension bill, but added that the government backtracked on it later.