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Akhilesh stirs controversy, says no martyrs from Gujarat

Lucknow: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday stirred controversy with his comment that while soldiers from all states were being killed in Jammu and Kashmir there were no casualties from Gujarat, drawing sharp reaction from political parties.

Akhilesh, speaking in Jhansi, raised questions on the central government’s response to the mutilation of the bodies of two soldiers on the Line of Control (LoC) by the Pakistan Army earlier this month.

“The Pakistani soldiers beheaded Indian soldiers, they mutilated their bodies so badly. No one is debating or discussing that. You didn’t tell which body parts were mutilated, you are not debating on that. We have seen martyrs from Bihar, UP, MP, Jharkhand and south Indian states. But why no martyrs from Gujarat?” Yadav said.

Gujarat is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah.

Akhilesh accused Modi of doing “politics over martyrs, Vande Mataram and nationalism”.

Uttar Pradesh Power Minister and state government spokesman Srikant Sharma told the media on Wednesday that Akilesh Yadav’s statement was very unfortunate and reminded the Samajwadi Party (SP) president that soldiers guarding the frontiers belonged to the nation and not to any particular state.

“When a soldier is martyred while serving Bharat Ma, he belongs to the nation,” Sharma said.

He said the former Chief Minister was making these statements out of frustration as he was not able to digest the crushing defeat handed to his party in the state assembly elections. “People gave him a chance to develop the state and he failed miserably…such statements echo his frustration” Sharma added.

A senior leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also slammed the 44-year-old leader for the statement and said soldiers and the armed forces should not be brought into politics.

In February, Akhilesh Yadav had stirred a controversy just before the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, when he took a pot shot at Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and advised him to stop promoting the “donkeys of Gujarat”.

—IANS