JASHPUR: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Thursday stoked a controversy by making a veiled attack against former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying “agents from Italy” facilitated religious conversions of local tribal people when the party was in power in the state.
Addressing a campaign rally here for the second phase of Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Adityanath said, “Italy se ayatit saudagar” (agents imported from Italy) undertook “anti-national” activities like conversion of tribals in the state.
His “Italy se ayatit saudagar” remark was a veiled reference to Gandhi’s origins.
Attacking the Congress over alleged minority appeasement, Adityanath said the “anti-national activity of religious conversion” reached its peak when the party ruled the state.
“Anti-national activities were at its peak. Dilip Singh Judeo (late BJP MP) took this menace head on and stopped Jashpur from becoming another Bastar,” he said,
“The Hindu society offers milk even to snakes despite knowing that they may bite later. Hindus are the greatest society of the world because we always believe in sacrifices.
“We Hindus never believe in forced conversion like others. We need to establish a government that can establish ‘Ram Rajya’ in Chhattisgarh,” he said.
“There were no roads, education, electricity and ration for the poor but ‘Italy se ayatit saudagar’ were indulging in religious conversions, which Judeo foiled,” Adityanath claimed.
In an apparent reference to missionaries, he compared those carrying out religious conversions with Putna, a mythological demoness.
“There was a character, Putna, in ‘Krishna Leela’. Putna tried to kill Lord Krishna by feeding him poisoned milk but she failed and died herself,” Adityanath said.
“Similarly in Jashpur and adjoining areas, Putna has been trying to capture the area by spreading terror and providing sweet poison but she will not be able do anything to the sons of ‘Bharat Mata’,” he said.
Had Judeo and his royal family not been there, “this region would have become Dandakaranya (as Bastar is sometimes referred to) and would have been facing the challenge of Naxalism,” he said.
“During the Congress’ three-year rule in the state, mining, forest and coal mafia were influential. These mafia remind me of Italy. The mafia word originated in Italy,” Adityanath said, in another apparent swipe at Gandhi. PTI