Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that he is ready to contest the upcoming assembly elections from wherever his party decides to be appropriate.
The BJP leader also said he has fulfilled whatever was promised and has no regrets about his tenure. "I am ready to fight the election from wherever the party says," Adityanath told reporters when asked whether he will contest from Ayodhya, Mathura, or from his home district Gorakhpur.
After former UP CM Mulayam Singh Yadav fought the state elections in 2003, none of his successors have contested the assembly polls. BSP chief Mayawati, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Adityanath were members of the legislative council during their tenure as chief minister.
Adiyanath's challenger Akhilesh Yadav had recently indicated that he might not contest polls. He, however, had later said the party would take a call on it.
Asked if there was any work he could not do in his five-year tenure, the BJP leader said, "Whatever was said, was done. There is no work left for which there should be any regret." To another question, Adityanath said, "Work is under progress in Mathura as in Kashi and Ayodhya." He also tried to allay concerns among some of the sitting MLAs over distribution of party tickets saying the BJP was a very big family and people's role in it may change with time.
"Every person's role is different at different times. It is not necessary that one person should always be in the government, sometimes he can also do the work of the organisation," he said.
The chief minister said COVID-protocol will be followed to the hilt whenever the dates for the election are announced.
Asked about what changed since the 2017 election, Adityanath said: "In 2017 we fought on the failures of the state government. This time we are contesting on the basis of our achievements." He said cases of omicron variant of COVID-19 have been reported from Ghaziabad and Rae Bareli but urged people not to panic.
He said it has been seen that the omicron is not as lethal as the Delta variant and added that infected patients are getting fully cured of the omicron variant in 4-5 days. The chief minister urged the media to report about the pandemic responsibly. "If the media highlights people recovering from COVID it would have positive results," he said and added "when Ramayan serial was repeated during lockdown it generated a new enthusiasm among people".
He also said the government has done a lot of work for the farmers and discounted claims that there was dissatisfaction with the BJP in the agricultural community in western Uttar Pradesh.
He also took a swipe at Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav's promise of giving 300 free units of electricity to domestic consumers upon coming to power, saying that people of the state know only five districts used to get power supply before 2017.
On the Congress' promise of giving scooties to women if it comes to power, Adityanath said the party should be asked how many scooties have been distributed in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan where it is in power.
Asked about the issue of stray animals, he said his government stopped cow slaughter and smuggling of cattle. More than seven lakh such cattle are in government 'gaushalas' (cow-shelters), he said.
In reply to a question on Muslim voters and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi's alleged inflammatory speeches, he quipped, "Do you expect to hear 'Ramkatha' from him...Owaisi is Owaisi."
( With PTI Inputs)