Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party would be wiped out of Uttar Pradesh in the 2022 state Assembly elections, reported the Hindustan Times.

“There will be a change in UP in 2022, for sure,” he said at a rally in Ghazipur on the Purvanchal Expressway. “I am seeing a wave of change. I am confident that from this Ghazipur [Uttar Pradesh] to that Ghazipur [near Delhi border], BJP will be wiped out.”

Yadav also clarified his earlier statement that he would not contest the upcoming state Assembly polls. “That statement was twisted,” he told NDTV. “If the Samajwadi Party decides, then I will contest.”

On November 1, Yadav had said he will not contest any seat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Yadav, who is an MP from the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat, has never contested an Assembly election. In 2012, when he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he had taken oath as a member of the state’s Legislative Council.

Soon after the party chief’s statement, Ashish Yadav, a close aide of Akhilesh Yadav, had tweeted: “Whether or not Akhilesh Yadav will contest will be decided by the party”.

On Wednesday, Yadav alleged that the Purvanchal Expressway was incomplete. He claimed that the expressway was meant to strengthen the economy with markets coming up near it but it has not been done.

On Tuesday morning, Modi inaugurated the 341 kilometres-long Purvanchal Expressway built at a cost of Rs 22,500 crore. The expressway starts from Chandsarai village in the district of Lucknow located on the Lucknow-Sultanpur road and ends at Haidaria village on National Highway 31 in Ghazipur district.

“After the SP [Samajwadi Party] comes to power, work will be done to set up mandis for farmers and create means of employment generation for the youth along it,” he said.

Targeting the BJP, Yadav said: “In 2022, change the government which is changing names.”

This was an apparent reference to the Adityanath-led government changing names of various places and cities. Allahabad has been changed to Prayagraj and Faizabad district to Ayodhya. The Adityanath government has also changed the name of Mughalsarai railway station to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay station.

Yadav also criticised the BJP for petrol and diesel price rise as well as “rising unemployment”.

“These are the very people who had said that poor with slippers will travel by air,” he said. “But the way the prices of diesel and petrol have gone up, riding a motorcycle has become difficult.”

The former chief minister added: “Unemployed youths waited for jobs for five years. Where are the jobs? Will the youth not bring a change? All sections of the society, be it farmers, labourers and youths, are ready to bring a change in the state.”

The Samajwadi Party is fighting this year’s polls in alliance with regional outfits Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal. Yadav has also said that he was open to ally with his uncle Shivpal Yadav’s outfit Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia.