Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said his party has taken the wind out of the BJP’s sails on the issue of terrorism after fielding a ‘fauji’ (soldier) candidate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.

The Samajwadi Party on Monday announced dismissed BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav as its candidate from Varanasi.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are talking about terrorism during campaigning. By giving ticket to a ‘fauji’ in Varanasi, we have taken the wind out of the BJP’s sails,” Akhilesh said, addressing an election meeting in Kaushambi.

“This is a real fauji who has guarded the borders of the country. BJP people claim that the country is safe because of them, but we say the country is safe because of our jawans. The people should not be misled by them,” Akhilesh said.

Stating that the BJP came to power in 2014 on the back of “tall promises”, the SP president asked the people of Banda and Bundelkhand to see for themselves what had been done in the last five years.

Referring to Jhansi MP Uma Bharti, who is not in the electoral fray this time, Yadav said a ministry was made to clean Ganga and while the river was not cleaned the minister’s ticket has been wiped clean.

He said the SP-BSP-RLD alliance was one of ‘mahaparivartan’ (great change), responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s jibe of calling the grouping ‘mahamilavat’ (grand adulteration).

“Besides change, this alliance is also for social justice. It will work for those who were denied justice for years. This is the conflux (‘sangam’) of two ideologies,” he said.

He criticised UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s ‘thoko’ (violent) policy, saying it had spread across the BJP ranks, its MPs and MLAs, which manifested in elected representatives coming to blows in Sant Kabirnagar recently.

“Not only the people, the cattle are also facing problems because of this government. Uncontrolled bulls entered election rallies in Kannauj and Hardoi,” he said, adding how can a government which cannot take care of animals look after the people.

Addressing another rally, Yadav said the youth are migrating because of dearth of jobs, whereas the prime minister is suggesting that they make ‘pakoras’ (snacks) so that the oil imported is properly utilised and benefits the PM’s close ones.

Stressing that the BJP has betrayed the people in the name of development, Yadav said they have turned farmers and labourers into ‘chowkidars’ (watchmen).

He claimed the price of all commodities has gone up.