Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday criticised the position that the Opposition parties had taken on the matter of triple talaq, and asked if the Congress was a party for only Muslim men.

“On one side, the Centre is trying to make the lives of women easy, on the other side these people have grouped together to make the lives of women, especially Muslim women, difficult,” Modi said in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, ANI reported. “I have read in a newspaper that the Congress president has said that Congress is a party of Muslims, I am not surprised by this,” he added. “All I want to ask is, is their party only for Muslim men or for women too?”

In a jibe at the Opposition, he added that those who did not even like looking at each other earlier were now uniting against him.

Modi began a two-day tour of Uttar Pradesh by laying the foundation stone for the Rs 23,000-crore Purvanchal Expressway on Saturday.

“The expressway will take Uttar Pradesh, especially eastern UP, to greater heights,” the prime minister said “All the cities, towns and places on this route will experience a change.” The expressway will connect Delhi with several cities and towns of Uttar Pradesh including Noida in the west and Ghazipur in the east. An official told PTI the six-lane expressway will be built in three years.

Modi praised the Adityanath-led state government for creating an atmosphere conducive for development, and for controlling crime and corruption. “Now the people of the state know that their money is being used for their well being,” he added.

Azamgarh is the Lok Sabha seat of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. The Samajwadi Party has said the 340-km expressway is the brainchild of their government and that they have been denied credit for it. Party workers had protested at the district collectorate on Thursday over this, PTI reported.

Later in the day, the prime minister addressed a rally in his constituency Varanasi. “During previous governments there was no development in Varanasi, development projects were stalled,” said Modi. “But when the people voted for us and chose Bharatiya Janata government for Lucknow, the region started moving forward on the path to development.”

The prime minister said a new Varanasi was being built for a “New India” whose “soul will be ancient but its body will be modern”. “There will be culture & traditions in every corner of it but the facilities provided to it will be ‘smart’,” he added.

Modi claimed that more than 200 projects worth Rs 21,000 crore have been approved to keep the Ganga clean and ensure that waste is not dumped in the river.