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Kerala govt protecting jihadis, UP chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath says

Author: Akhilesh Kumar Singh, TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 5, 2017
URL:   Kerala govt protecting jihadis, says UP CM

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath has been pitched into BJP's battle with the Left in Kerala by being asked to lead the party protest against political killings of its cadres. At a stopover for lunch, he spoke to Akhilesh Kumar Singh. Excerpts:

Your party has said this yatra is against 'jihad' and 'Red' terror. Will such issues help BJP gain ground in Kerala?

We don't do politics over issues of national security and innocent lives lost in political killings. Jihad is a serious threat to the whole nation and the Kerala government is providing political patronage to such elements. It has done nothing, even though maximum radicalism has been reported here. At the same time "love jihad" is another major issue in the state. Women are not safe in Kerala. The government here has closed its eyes for political reasons. The order of the Kerala HC was a landmark judgement and now SC has asked NIA to probe incidents of love jihad.

Kerala has alternated between Congress and communist governments, how does BJP hope to become a political force?

Political violence in Kerala is a serious issue. The Vijayan government has been shielding communist criminals who have killed more than 120 BJP and RSS workers. However, people of the state are peace loving and will not tolerate politics of murder and terror. We are confident people are fed up and are ready to reject the communists. CPM is intolerant towards its rivals and has been killing them. We have governments in 13 states and BJP-supported governments in four. But most states have not witnessed such violence.

But there have been incidents of cow vigilantes indulging in violence in BJP-ruled states like Jharkhand and Haryana.

We have acted strictly against those indulging in violence and the law was allowed to take its course unlike in Kerala where criminals have political patronage and police take no action. I am shocked to see incidents in Kerala, which had a history of trendsetting social reform movements.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan mocked your visit and suggested you should see hospitals here to learn how they can be run.

On the contrary, Kerala CM needs tips from how we have managed the state since I took over as CM six months ago. UP is the most populous state and things are not easy but we have been efficient and change is palpable. Kerala has witnessed more than 300 dengue deaths in one year and hundreds have died of chikungunya. These numbers are too high in proportion to the state population. There hasn't been asingle death due to dengue in UP. I don't think I need to take lessons from what the CM has done here. As far as deaths in Gorakhpur are concerned, I have already said it was not the first time. Still, we have streamlined healthcare in the state and we are committed to make sure no deaths happen for lack of facilities.

A major controversy broke recently as it was reported that the Taj Mahal was not included in a government brochure.

The entire controversy was the handiwork of vested interests, who raked it up for political reasons. The Taj Mahal is an integral part of our heritage and remains our priority for conservation and attracting tourists. The government has already allocated funds for its conservation. The brochure being talked about highlighted a few new projects initiated recently. Just because the Taj was not mentioned doesn't mean that it is being ignored. These controversies are uncalled for and an attempt to malign the government's image.
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