Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday ridiculed the opposition unity efforts ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, saying non-BJP parties were ganging up to create political instability in the country, a charge refuted by the Congress.
"The opposition is worried that the BJP is gaining from strength to strength. They are opposed to development and have been ganging up to join hands with the only aim to take on the saffron party," the firebrand BJP Hindutva leader said at an event organised by a media house.
The chief minister said the people were hopeful that a grand Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya in the state and "Lord Ram will decide its date".
Slamming the opposition parties, the chief minister said, "Their only aim is to create political instability in the country so that they can fish in troubled waters."
His comments at the 'Hindustan Shikhar Samagam' came against the backdrop of efforts to stitch an alliance among the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
"The opposition is against development and its only target is to dislodge the BJP from power," he said.
Adityanath sought to poke fun at the opposition parties, saying they were not clear as to who will lead the alliance. "They cannot project any leader who can head the alliance," he said.
"A grand Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya. The people are very hopeful. Ramji will decide its date. But, it will be built definitely," the saffron-clad chief minister said.
The BJP will fight the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 on the plank of development, he said and exuded confidence the party will retain power under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The BJP will again come to power at the Centre and under the able leadership of the prime minister, we will put up a grand show in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections," Aditynath said.
He was responding to a specific question about whether his party would repeat its performance in 2014 when it bagged 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state along with its alliance partners.
The 46-year-old monk-turned-politician said the party does not believe in playing the caste card for the sake of votes and it will go to the polls on the development plank.
"The BJP does not play caste card," he said. "We believe in development and welfare of the people without any discrimination," he said.
On the police encounters in the state, he said the authorities are trying their best to instil confidence in the minds of the people that lawbreakers would not be allowed to go scotfree.
"At the same time, we have warned the police that there should not be any fake encounters. If they misuse power, action will be taken against them," he said.
The chief minister, who assumed power last year after his party scored a landslide victory in the 2017 Assembly polls, slammed the previous Samajwadi Party dispensation saying, "People voted against the SP as they came to realise the misdeeds of the Akhilesh Yadav government."
However, UPCC chief Raj Babbar, who was the next guest at the meet, refuted Adityanath's remarks over his remarks on the opposition unity.
"The unity among the opposition parties is to save the country from the BJP's misrule," he said.
Babbar said that the unity efforts were in the context of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the highest number of 80 members to the Lok Sabha.
"This is Lok Sabha election and national leaders will take a call," he said.
The actor-turned-politician said the efforts to strike unity among non-BJP parties were not directed against any individual. "The sole purpose is to save the country from the BJP's misrule," he said.
To a specific question as to who will head the alliance, Babbar said the issue will crop up at a later stage.
"The issue will be decided at a later stage. It is for the people to decide, the country will decide...," he said.
"But, one thing is for certain that if the Congress heads the alliance, it will be our party chief Rahul Gandhi who will head it," he added.