Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Tuesday claimed that the law and order situation in the state has become a model for the country as not a single incident of rioting took place during his two years in office, PTI reported.

Adityanath claimed 227 major communal riots took place in the state in 2012, followed by 247 in 2013, and 242 in 2014. “And 219 riots in 2015 and more than 100 in 2016, in which properties worth crores were lost,” he said. “However, during the BJP government, not a single riot took place. Nor were there any incident of acid attacks or kidnapping.”

When the BJP government came to power, the state had become “synonymous with murder, loot and riots”, Adityanath said at a press conference in Lucknow. “Mafia was looting the state’s resources under political patronage. Mafia was rampant in the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party rule,” he alleged. “There was a long era of scams.”

The chief minister claimed he has changed the “perception about the state” and improved its “tarnished image”, creating a better atmosphere that can be emulated around the country.

Adityanath said that because of the change in perception, the investors summit and Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as well as the Kumbh Mela this year were a major success, The Hindu reported. The state has so far received investment proposals worth Rs 5 lakh crore, of which Rs 1.5 lakh crore has already been invested, he said.

Asked about the deaths of around 80 people in encounters, Adityanath claimed that not even one of those encounters was fake. “If the criminal opens fire, the police will not keep their hands tied,” he said. “Earlier, the police used to run and criminals used to chase them. Because criminals were being shielded by the administration, the Bahujan Samaj Party’s or the Samajwadi Party’s.”

“If someone fires at the police, or at innocent people, it is only natural they will be responded to in a language that they understand, by the police,” he said, calling this the “rule of law”. Adityanath said the state police force was now more confident as there is no government interference in their functioning.

‘Renamed places to reestablish our original identity’

Adityanath said that the complaints from farmers that stray cattle were ruining their farms were “two months old” and things have “significantly improved” since then. “As of now, we have four lakh cattle being taken care of in shelters. We needed money for this,” he said. “We used the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for construction in some places. We introduced a cess on foreign liquor in some places.”

The chief minister defended the state government’s decision to change the names of several places. “If Bombay can become Mumbai, Bangalore can become Bengaluru, Madras can become Chennai, and Calcutta can become Kolkata, there is no reason why Allahabad should not become Prayagraj and Faizabad should not become Ayodhya,” he said. “To reestablish our original identity, we have renamed these places.”

Calling Mughal rulers “foreign aggressors”, the chief minister denied they were part of India’s heritage.

Adityanath said the BJP in Uttar Pradesh will contest the Lok Sabha elections on three planks – development, good governance and nationalism. He also denied any prime ministerial ambitions. “I am not in that race. I am happy in the service of Uttar Pradesh,” he said.