ETAWAH (TIP): Narendra Modi has attacked Mulayam Singh Yadav on his home turf in Uttar Pradesh, calling him soft on rapists, but tough on Muzaffarnagar riot victims. “Our Netaji (Mulayam) has a problem, where he should be mulayam (soft), he is harsh and where he should be tough, he is soft.

He is soft on the issue of rape, but when children were dying in relief camps, he was tough,” Modi said, addressing a rally in Etawah, home to Mulayam Singh’s native village Saifai. Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party has been battling allegations of mismanagement after the riots in Muzaffarnagar in September, in which nearly 60 were killed and thousands driven out of their villages to relief camps.

The death of children in these camps highlighted their poor condition and the lack of facilities. Mulayam Singh controversially said that those living in relief camps were political stooges, not riot victims. Recently, the Samajwadi Party chief courted more controversy when he said “boys will be boys, they make mistakes,” while questioning the death sentence to three men convicted of gang-raping two women in Mumbai last year. Modi said, “If you want a better life then change the government in Delhi now and then in Lucknow.” The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has chosen Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh as one of the two constituencies from where he is running for Parliament.