Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday invoked Ram Manohar Lohia to suggest that Narendra Modi is set to run the country for many more years because of his focus on providing toilets and fuel for the poor.
In an interview to news agency Press Trust of India, the chief minister expressed confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party will win 74 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in his state, three more than it bagged on its own in 2014.
Mr Adityanath said the socialist leader's dream has been fulfilled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP will form the government with a clear majority after the 2019 elections.
"Dr Lohia told Shrimati Indira Gandhi ji in Parliament that this country lives in the villages. The day every poor person in this country has a toilet in his home and his fuel requirements are met, whoever is the PM then shall rule for at least 25 years," he said.
He said Ram Manohar Lohia addressed the then prime minister around 1966 or 1967 but it is only now that his desire has come true.
"I think there are lot of people who do politics in the name of Dr Lohia but his dream has been fulfilled by PM Modi," Mr Adityanath said.
He said this election will be the first one to shatter all forecasts around caste, religion, region and vote banks.
"Considering the respect that the common man has today for the PM, the public is inclined towards him," the BJP leader said.
He stressed that general elections are different from bypolls as they decide who shall be the prime minister.
"The BJP will win this election in Gorakhpur, Phulpur, Amethi, Azamgarh and Badaun -- and it will be more than 74 seats in Uttar Pradesh," Mr Adityanath said, listing the constituencies where the BJP has not done well in the recent past.
"It is the first time after independence that a poor person has got a home, a power connection and a cooking gas connection," he said.
Mr Adityanath attacked rival Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for "corruption" in his laptop distribution scheme when the party was in power in the state. In contrast, his own government has used technology to benefit the poor, he claimed.
"Ask 'babua' of the Samajwadi Party that your laptop scheme was the root of cheating and corruption. You robbed the state," Mr Adityanath alleged, targeting Akhilesh Yadav.
"Today our Digital India policy connects the common man with governance and facilities," he said.
Akhilesh Yadav had alleged that Mr Adityanath doesn't know how to use a laptop and that is why he is not distributing them.
The chief minister said the state government has used the Digital India scheme to scrap 37 lakh fake ration cards and distribute 3.5 crore genuine ones.
"Today, we have installed point of sale machines at 80,000 ration shops and linked them with Aadhaar. People are getting rations on their doorsteps and the state is saving Rs. 1,200 crore annually," he said.
He said the state government is paying Rs. 1,860 for per quintal of wheat to farmers at procurement centres compared to Rs. 800-900 per quintal earlier.