Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stoked a controversy on Thursday by taking an ‘Italian Agent’ jibe at former Congress President, Sonia Gandhi while campaigning in Jashpur in Chhattisgarh.
Yogi said that the Congress was responsible for three years of misrule in the State and “agents from Italy” facilitated religious conversions of local tribals when the party was in power in the state.
Addressing a campaign rally for the second phase of Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Adityanath said, “Italy se ayatit saudagar” (agents imported from Italy), undertook “anti-national” activities like the conversion of tribals in the state.
Criticising Congress for appeasement of “minorities”, Adityanath said the ‘anti-national activity of religious conversion’ reached its peak when the party ruled the state.
Hailing the late BJP MP Dilip Singh Judeo, Yogi said, “anti-national activities were at its peak. Dilip Singh Judeo took this menace head on and stopped Jashpur from becoming another Bastar.”
“The Hindu society offers milk even to snakes despite knowing that they may bite later. Hindus are the greatest society in the world because we always believe in sacrifices”. “We Hindus never believe in the forced conversion like others. We need to establish a government that can establish ‘Ram Rajya’ in Chhattisgarh,” he said.
Referring to the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi’s Italian lineage he said, “There were no roads, education, electricity and ration for the poor but ‘Italy se ayatit saudagar’ were indulging in religious conversions, which Judeo foiled.”
“During the Congress’ three-year rule in the state, mining, forest and coal mafia were influential. These mafias remind me of Italy. The mafia word originated in Italy,” Adityanath said, in another apparent swipe at Gandhi.
Similarly while addressing a rally in Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Modi a few days back had also mocked the recently released Congress’ election manifesto. Taking a dig at the Gandhi family he said that those who themselves are out on bail obtained by dubious money are busy in distributing the honesty certificates to everyone.
Earlier, Prime Minister Modi while addressing a rally in Jagdalpur had said that Congress is busy protecting ‘Urban Maoists’ who sit in air-conditioned rooms and have destroyed the lives of Adivasis.
Thursday was Yogi’s fourth visit to the state to campaign for the assembly elections. 18 out of the 90 assembly seats, including the Naxal-affected ‘Red Corridor’, fighting all odds completed the first phase of polling on 12th November. In a bid to discourage the villagers from voting, Maoists had put up posters threatening the villagers to boycott elections. Just before voting began, Naxals burst explosives in Dantewada. Another IED was detected in Sukma, following which a makeshift polling booth was constructed under a tree. The second phase of polling is scheduled for November 20.