Akhilesh Yadav today fired back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “terrorists choosing cycles” comment at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh, declaring that an “insult to the cycle is an insult to the entire nation”.
The Samajwadi Party leader’s retort was framed in a verse in Hindi on the bicycle- his party’s election symbol — as the “common man’s ride” and the pride of villages.
“The cycle connects the farmers to their fields, laying the foundation of prosperity. The cycle takes our daughters to school, rising above social restrictions, it races ahead, untouched by inflation; the cycle is the common man’s ride, the pride of rural India; an insult to the cycle is an insult to the entire nation,” Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, along with the image of a schoolboy riding on a cycle, smiling at a toy plane.
Yesterday, PM Modi had made disparaging comments linking the Samajwadi Party’s poll symbol to terrorists, in the context of the 49 people convicted of the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts on Friday.
“Today, I am referring to this because some political parties have gone soft on terrorists. The blasts were executed in two ways. The first one was in the city at 50-60 places, and then after two hours, a blast took place in a vehicle in a hospital, as relatives, officials and leaders would be going there. A number of people also died there,” PM Modi said at a public meeting in Hardoi.
“In the initial blasts, the bombs were kept on cycles…I wonder why they (terrorists) opted for cycles,” the Prime Minister remarked.
He also accused the Samajwadi Party of withdrawing cases against those accused in blasts in 2006 (Varanasi) and Ayodhya and Lucknow (2007).
“In 14 cases pertaining to terror attacks in UP, the Samajwadi government ordered the withdrawal of cases lodged against many terrorists. These people were indulging in explosions, and the Samajwadi government did not allow these terrorists to be prosecuted,” he said, alleging that it was the Samajwadi Party’s “return gift”.
The PM was campaigning on a day UP voted in the third round of assembly elections, in which the ruling BJP faces a stiff challenge from Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.
The results of elections in UP an four other states will be announced on March 10.