10 days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath brought up the issue of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and blamed a "section of people" for supporting the terror group in India without naming any party, the Uttar Pradesh BJP has tweeted a two-minute-long video naming Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and attacking him for "supporting Samajwadi Party leaders who have a Taliban mindset".
Uttar Pradesh will see crucial state election in less than a year and the BJP is hoping to retain power after five years of governance under Yogi Adityanath.
The video has recent scenes from Afghanistan, particularly of the chaos at Kabul airport amid evacuations after the Taliban takeover. A Hindi voiceover in the video accuses leaders of Akhilesh Yadav's party of standing with those who are ideologically inclined to the Taliban.
अखिलेश जी... जनता आपके कारनामे देख रही है
तालिबानी सोच वाले सपा के बेशर्म नेताओं का समर्थन क्यों कर रहे हैं ? pic.twitter.com/ps6hK86LIK— BJP Uttar Pradesh (@BJP4UP) August 28, 2021
"People are supporting the Taliban. Look at the kind of barbarism being meted out to women there, to children in Afghanistan. Yet some people are shamelessly supporting the Taliban. These people should be exposed before society," Yogi Adityanath had said in his address at the Uttar Pradesh assembly on August 19.
His remarks came after a sedition case was filed against a Samajwadi Party MP and two others in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district over comments that seemed to compare the Taliban to India's freedom fighters.
On August 18, Samajwadi Party leader Shafiqur Rahman Barq - the Lok Sabha MP from Sambhal - told reporters that the Taliban "want Afghanistan to be free" and "want to run their own country".
"They want to be free. This is their personal matter. How can we interfere?" he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. He also said when India was occupied by the British, "the entire country fought for independence", PTI reported.
Mr Barq later denied making the remarks and said his statement was misinterpreted.
Akhilesh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party have not reacted to the video tweeted by the BJP. Mr Yadav has so far avoided getting drawn into questions around his party's stand on the Taliban, but said it is up to the government of India to frame a comprehensive response to the developing situation in Afghanistan.
When asked at a summit by a private news channel on Saturday to clear his party's stand on the Taliban, Mr Yadav said, "The people of Afghanistan should be safe, that is the biggest priority."