'BJP a "lesser evil" than Cong'; What's on Mulayam's mind?

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Mulayam Singh Yadav
New Delhi, Jul 25: Sending a clear message to both the Congress and the BJP, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav made a claim loud and clear that could have political repercussions in UP. He called the BJP a “lesser evil" on its dealing with minorities in Uttar Pradesh as compared to the Congress. Yadav also slammed the Congress for its “anti-Muslim policies".

The statements made in a press conference on Sunday saw Yadav commenting, "Whenever the BJP has ruled, Muslims have not been exploited. Despite a couple of communal riots, their exploitation has been less."

The comments could not come at a most opportune time than the present when the UP Assembly elections are scheduled to be held next year. The SP chief's statement also indicates the discomfort the party has with the Congress. The SP presently supports the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre from outside.

When asked if the Gujarat riots could be termed as a minor issue in the wake of his comments, Mulayam Singh Yadav stated that he was referring to UP and not the rest of India. He stated, "They (BJP) have created problems in the country. The Gujarat chief minister himself carried out (the 2002) riots as the party thought it was the opportune moment to target Muslims."

On further querying about his ranking the BJP ahead of the Congress, Yadav said that it was because of the SP's strong base in UP that the BJP was acting well with the Muslims and not exploiting them. He added, "But the Congress is arrogant. It is not concerned about our protests. But we will tackle it."

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