Sandeep Rai| TNN | 


Yogi Adityanath (File photo)Yogi Adityanath (File photo)
BULANDSHAHR: In his first major election rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, firebrand BJP MP Yogi Adityanath urged voters to “remember the rapes and the riots” when they go out to vote on February 11, the first phase of elections in the state.

BJP had only two days ago spoken about the Ram temple in Ayodhya, closure of illegal slaughterhouses and the Kairana exodus in its election manifesto for UP. That BJP began its campaign in western UP by sending one of the most polarising politicians in its list of 40 star campaigners, opposition leaders said, showed the party’s clear intention of dividing voters along faith lines.

Adityanath, who will cover Bulandshahr, Dholana (Hapur) and Loni (Ghaziabad) constituencies, all of which go to polls in the first phase of elections, is slated to hold eight rallies in the initial phase of campaigning. Addressing a gathering in Bulandshahr on Monday, the MP from Gorakhpur —whose outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini threatened recently to put up 64 candidates and fight against BJP for not making their leader the party’s chief ministerial face — also spoke at length about the “exodus” from UP towns.

“There are more than 25 towns in UP where exodus (of Hindus) has taken place. Once we are in power we will deal with this menace strictly,” he said. Elaborating on the exodus issue, which fellow party MP Hukum Singh had first raised from Kairana, Adityanath said, “Have you forgotten the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990? When I come to Western UP I am always confronted by this fear. If you do not wake up even now, you will also be forced to migrate to other regions. All the fact finding committees that went to Kairana after news of the exodus broke out last year were unanimous in admitting that exodus had taken place. Even then the UP government did not exhibit enough guts to tackle the issue impartially.”