The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are merely months away now, and all the political parties are converging on this state to drum up support for themselves and wean away voters from rivals.
On Saturday, it was the turn of the Bharatiya Janata Party, as party president Amit Shah looked to take down local bigwigs UP Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and former Chief Minister Mayawati, as well as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
Here are top 10 things Shah said at the BJP rally in Shahjahanpur district that seemed to resonate quite well with the gathering on Saturday:
1. Uttar Pradesh is not progressing because it is stuck with the fight between uncle-nephew (Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, both of whom want to lead the SP after Mulayam Singh Yadav] and aunt-nephew [Mayawati and Akhilesh, both of whom want to be the next UP chief minister).
2. I have been watching Akhilesh Yadav for the past 20 days, and he has been speaking only of demonetisation. Where is the talk of developing UP? Only the BJP can bring development to UP. The people of UP should give the BJP two-thirds majority in the Assembly elections.
3. Go to any state and ask a driver where they are from, and they will say they are from UP. I want to make UP a state whose youths do not have to look outside for employment.
4. (On demonetisation) The country will be improved for the coming 50 years after these 50 days of problems.
5. (On Rahul Gandhi's statement at a political rally) Rahul baba says he will start a potato factory. Let me tell him that potatoes are not manufactured, but are grown underground.
6. Rahul baba, you ask us what we have given to the country? Let me tell you, we have given a Prime Minister who the whole country can hear, unlike the Prime Minister whose voice only you and your mother could hear throughout his tenure.
7. Akhilesh has been saying for a month that if the SP and the Congress contest the elections together, they can win majority. Why, Akhilesh? Are you already seeing defeat? Even if the Congress, the SP and the BSP come together, they cannot defeat the BJP.
8. (On the Supreme Court seeking the government's response on triple talaq) Our government said the rights of women should be protected, irrespective of religion. However, everyone — the SP, the BSP and the Congress — are quiet about it.
9. The Congress has perpetrated scams in all realms during its rule (at the Centre). In space there were the 2G and the ISRO scams. Then come the skies, where there was the AgustaWestland chopper scam and the Airbus procurement scam. Then comes land, where there was the Adarsh Society scam and the CWG scam. Then, the sea, where there was the submarine procurement scam. And finally, under the ground, there was the coal block allocation scam, or Coalgate.
10. (On ceasefire violations and unrest along the border in Jammu and Kashmir) In your (the Congress') time, Pakistan would begin firing, and Pakistan would end firing. In our time, if Pakistan begins firing, the Indian Army ends it with fitting replies.