Akhilesh Yadav fired back today at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that “terrorists are choosing cycles” at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh, declaring that an “insult to the cycle is an insult to the entire nation”.
The response from the leader of the Samajwadi party was framed in a Hindi verse on bicycles – his party’s election symbol – as the “common man’s ride” and the pride of villages.
“The cycle connects farmers to their fields and lays the foundation for prosperity. The cycle takes our daughters to school, rises above social constraints, it races forward, unaffected by inflation; the cycle is the common man’s ride, the pride of rural India “An insult to the bicycle is an insult to the entire nation,” tweeted Akhilesh Yadav, along with the image of a schoolboy riding a bicycle, smiling at a toy airplane.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Modi had made disparaging remarks linking the Samajwadi party’s poll symbol to terrorists, in the context of the 49 people convicted Friday for the 2008 serial blasts in Ahmedabad.
“Today I refer to this because some political parties have gone soft on terrorists. The blasts were carried out in two ways. The first was in the city in 50-60 places, and after two hours an explosion occurred in a vehicle in a hospital, as relatives, officials and leaders would go there. A number of people also died there,” Prime Minister Modi said at a public rally in Hardoi.
“In the first blast, the bombs were kept on cycles…I wonder why they (terrorists) chose cycles,” the Prime Minister noted.
He also accused the Samajwadi party of withdrawing cases against those accused of blasts in 2006 (Varanasi) and Ayodhya and Lucknow (2007).
“In 14 cases related to terror attacks in UP, the government of Samajwadi ordered the withdrawal of cases filed against many terrorists. These people indulged in explosions and the government of Samajwadi did not allow these terrorists to be prosecuted,” he said, claiming it was the “gift of return” from the Samajwadi party.
The prime minister campaigned on a day when the UP had voted in the third round of parliamentary elections, in which the ruling BJP faces a tough challenge from Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi party.
The results of the elections in UP and four other states will be announced on March 10.