Yogi Adityanath kicks off BJP's Kerala poll campaign raising 'love jihad', Sabarimala issues

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday kicked off the BJP's assembly election campaign in Kerala by raising the ' love jihad' issue. Adityanath said the subsequent governments in the southern state were 'sleeping' despite the Kerala High Court making observations against 'forceful' religious conversion under the guise of love in 2009.

The BJP leader slammed successive LDF and UDF governments for not enacting any legislation to check what the Sangh Parivar terms 'love jihad' despite "strong court observation".

Inaugurating the state-wide "Vijay Yatra" led by BJP Kerala president K Surendran, Adityanath alleged that the governments headed by the CPM and the Congress in the state indulged in corruption and had not done anything for the people.

"In 2009, the Kerala High Court had said that Love Jihad was prevalent here. However, the governments here did not take any steps to counter that but instead were taking steps in favour of it,"Adityanath said.

He said that in Uttar Pradesh his government took stern action to deal with "love jihad" and made laws to control it, apparently referring to religious freedom laws to stop conversion through marriage or by any other fraudulent means.

'Love Jihad' is a term used by right wing activists to refer to an alleged campaign of Muslims forcing Hindu girls to convert in the guise of love.

"The court had said that love jihad would turn the state into an Islamic state. But the subsequent governments here are not governing for the safety and security of the state or the country. They did not take any steps to counter that. We need to be more careful," he said.

Observing that there were indications of 'forceful" religious conversions under the guise of "love" in Kerala, the state high court on December9, 2009 had suggested the government to consider enacting a law to prohibit such "deceptive" acts.

"Under the pretext of love, there cannot be any compulsive, deceptive conversion," the court had said.

The UP CM also said Kerala needs BJP now and it would bring prosperity to the southern state and provide welfare without any discrimination.

Slamming the Pinaryi Vijayan government on the Sabarimala issue, the BJP leader accused the CPM-led Left Democratic Front of having worked against the sentiments of the devotees.

But in UP, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of Lord Ram temple, he said.

"The LDF government is against Hindus and the faithful and the Sabarimala issue is an example of it," he said.

He also criticised the state government for 'mishandling' of the COVID-19 situation.

Uttar Pradesh, which is the largest populated state with 24 crore people, has presently only around 2,000 active cases because the state government truthfully followed all instructions from the Centre on ways to tackle the virus, he claimed.

"Why has the Kerala government failed in controlling the COVID situation? Earlier Kerala CM used to make fun of UP but now the whole world is laughing at Kerala as the COVID management is a complete failure," he said.

The youth of the southern state were forced to move to other places in search of jobs, while in UP in the last four years four lakh youth have been given employment, he claimed.

But the Kerala government was not interested in working for the people and not implementing the projects of the union government, he said, adding it needs the Centre's money but not the project or the name of Modi.

"They work only for the vikas of CPM cadre, unlike the BJP government which works for people of all sections of society," Adityanath said.

Union Minister, V Muraleedharan, BJP state president K Surendran, former Mizoram Governor, Kummanam Rajasekharan and other senior state leaders were among those who attended the inauguration of the Vijay Yatra.

The 15-day-Vijay Yatra, covering all major constituencies in 14 districts of the state, is seen as the official launch of the BJP's poll campaign.

Various union ministers and BJP's popular leaders and star campaigners at the national level are expected to join the yatra in the coming days.

Union Minister Amit Shah is expected to inaugurate the finale of the yatra at the state capital on March 7, party sources said.

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