Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Wednesday warned that the state may become another Kashmir, Kerala or Bengal if voters “make a mistake” in the Assembly elections.

He made the statement in a video message urging people to vote in the polls, which began on Thursday morning.

“Beware! If you make a mistake, then the hard work of the past five years will go to waste,” Adityanath said. “And this time, it will not take long for Uttar Pradesh to become Kashmir, Bengal or Kerala.”

The chief minister said that a vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party would be a guarantee of a “fear-free life”. The BJP, during its Assembly election campaign, has repeatedly claimed that the state government improved law and order and reined in criminal elements.

In response, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that if Uttar Pradesh turns into Kerala, it would enjoy the best education, health services and social welfare.

“...people won’t be murdered in the name of religion and caste,” Vijayan said in a tweet. “That’s what the people of UP would want.”

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that Uttar Pradesh would be “so lucky” if it gets “the beauty of Kashmir, the culture of West Bengal and Kerala’s education.”

On Wednesday, Adityanath had said that the “double engine” government of the BJP has worked with faith and responsibility in the past five years, referring to the governments led by the saffron party at the Centre and the state.

The chief minister added that the Uttar Pradesh government respected the promises it made to the people and fulfilled them. Adityanath also claimed that a “lot of unprecedented work” took place in the past five years and said that people’s votes would be their blessings for his “penance” during this time.

This first phase of Uttar Pradesh elections covers 58 Assembly seats in 11 districts in the western belt of the state. The districts where the election will take place are Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Shamli, Hapur, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Agra and Mathura.

A total of 623 candidates are in the fray in the first phase and more than 2.28 crore voters will decide their fate.