Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath lashed out at opposition leader Akhilesh Yadav in the state assembly on Saturday, even referencing his feud with his father, following tough questions over the public killing of a witness in a murder case a day ago.
“Is it not true that Atiq Ahmed who has been accused by the victim’s family, is part of the mafia fostered by the Samajwadi Party and we have only worked towards breaking its back?” Yogi Adityanath, pointing a finger at Mr Yadav, said.
“Speaker sir, he is the godfather of all professional criminals and mafia. They have crime in their veins… And I am telling this house today, we will run this mafia to the ground,” the Chief Minister, again wagging his finger at Mr Yadav, said.
The outburst was rare for the priest-politician who has cultivated a far more measured public image since he took over the state in 2017, stowing away years of incendiary speeches as the founding leader of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a right-wing group.
As the assembly erupted in an uproar, the Samajwadi Party leader hit back, saying, “Criminals are yours.” He had earlier accused the state’s police in “Ram Rajya” of being a “total failure”.
“There is daylight shooting, bombs are being hurled, and a witness is killed. What are the police doing? What is the government doing? Where are the double engines? Is this a film shooting,” Mr Yadav said.
At one point, the Chief Minister also told Mr Yadav “sharam toh tumhe karni chahiye, apne baap ki samman nahi kar paye tum (you should be ashamed, you couldn’t respect even your father)”, in reference to a falling out between the Samajwadi Party leader and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The fiery exchange was sparked by the opposition’s questions about the killing of a witness in the murder case of a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA who was shot dead in Prayagraj on Friday. The attack was caught on multiple CCTV cameras.
Umesh Pal, a key witness in the murder case of MLA Raju Pal in 2005, was shot dead by an unidentified man while he was getting out of the backseat of an SUV on the bustling main road of Prayagraj, one of the vast state’s largest cities.
The incident deflated the Adityanath government’s claims of improving the state’s law and order, the Samajwadi Party has said, linking the lapse with the BJP’s growing proximity with Mayawati’s BSP.