Mr. Adityanath said the BSP was supporting the SP despite “the SP in the past promising to destroy the Ambedkar memorial in Lucknow if it came to power, and the State guest house incident [of 1995 in which SP leaders allegedly humiliated her]”.
In another rally in Campierganj, Mr. Adityanath said the two rivals had been forced to come together to save themselves “just like the snake and the mole-rat take shelter in the same place to survive the floods”.
“I pity them. But in reality, they are looteras (plunderers). They looted the State, messed with the future of the youth, pushed farmers to despair and defamed the State,” the Chief Minister said.
Ms. Mayawati, however, has already clarified that her support to the SP in the bypolls or Rajya Sabha elections did not amount to a formal alliance with the party and the final decision in that regard would be taken after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are declared.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday appealed to voters in Gorakhpur to reject the “unholy and corrupt alliance” of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the upcoming Lok Sabha bypolls to two seats.
His remark came a day after BSP chief Mayawati said that though her party was not contesting the bypolls, her workers and supporters would vote for the “strongest candidate” in a position to defeat the BJP. The SP is the prime opponent of the BJP in the bypolls, and Ms. Mayawati’s call would mean that the BSP workers would support the SP candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur.
Addressing a rally in Gorakhpur city, Mr. Adityanath said the SP and BSP had agreed on a “deal” to throw the State back into anarchy and corruption.
In his election rallies, Mr. Adityanath is also emphasising that on Holi festival, Muslims shifted their timings for Friday prayers so that the Hindu festival could be celebrated without any glitches.
“Friday prayers come 52 times in a year, the timing can be changed. They changed it from noon to 2 p.m. And we gave full freedom to celebrate Holi with all the fun and frolic,” said Mr. Adityanath.
The ruling BJP has picked its Gorakhpur region head Upendra Shukla, a Brahmin, to defend the political bastion of the Chief Minister, who held the seat from 1998 and exerts considerable influence in the region through the Gorakhnath temple of which he is head priest. The Gorakhnath Peeth has held the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat since 1989, with Mahant Avaidyanath, Yogi Adityanath’s guru, winning till 1998.
If Mr. Shukla wins, Gorakhpur would get its first BJP MP in 28 years who is not directly from the temple. He faces a challenge from Praveen Nishad, the son of Nishad Party founder Sanjay Nishad. He is fighting on an SP ticket.