Escalating his attack on Narendra Modi, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today alleged he presided over "mass murder" of Muslims during 2002 Gujarat riots and then took on BJP for trying to hoodwink them by talking of apology to gain their votes.
Mulayam also dismissed as "baseless propaganda" the Gujarat Chief Minister's development claims during his 12-year-long tenure of the state.
Hitting back at the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate for his taunt that Mulayam could not make UP as prosperous as Gujarat as the feat required "a 56-inch-chest", the Samajwadi Party(SP) chief raked the 2002 riots at a rally in the city.
"You presided over the mass murder of Muslims," he said, adding, "And after that, your leaders apologise to the community."
Describing Muslims as "a brave, sensible and trustworthy community", Mulayam charged BJP with "hoodwinking" the minority community by "sounding apologetic after having allowed their carnage"--an obvious reference to the recent statement of BJP President Rajnath Singh.
"This is your move to gain votes and to invade Delhi. But this dream will not come true," he thundered.
"Do you think our Muslim brothers are naive? They are courageous."
Questioning Modi over his development claims, Mulayam quoted a number of sources to claim that "more than 30 per cent of women and 50 per cent of children are malnourished in Gujarat."
"Rivers of the state are among the most polluted. Daily wages given to those working in the unorganised sector are lower than that in UP. You (Modi) call this good governance and development? I call it nothing but baseless propaganda," he said.
"I would like to remind him that I had demonstrated my strength when I visited Gujarat in the aftermath of the brutal massacre of Muslims. I went there and met and consoled victims of the horrible communal riots notwithstanding Modi's threat that his administration would not be responsible if I was attacked by mobs," Yadav said as Modi addressed a parallel rally in Lucknow.
At the rally, firebrand party-leader and Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Azam Khan asked Muslims to defeat "the mass murderer who had called you a puppy ", a reference to the remarks made by Modi in an interview last year.
He also came down heavily on both Congress and BJP, holding the former responsible for Partition which "drove a wedge between Hindus and Muslims".
Muslims "ought to defeat the mass murderer who had called you a puppy and is now seeking your votes, realising that you