Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Thursday accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of being sympathetic towards anti-national elements, reported PTI.

“He [Rahul Gandhi] openly meets members of the Popular Front of India,” Adityanath said. “This clearly reflects his mentality towards anti-national elements.” The chief minister was referring to Gandhi meeting the wife of Siddique Kappan, a Kerala-based journalist who was arrested on his way to Hathras and charged with sedition. Kappan’s wife Raihanath had met Gandhi on Wednesday and handed him a memorandum, seeking justice for her husband.

“This is the same PFI which has plans to instigate a series of riots in the country, and those doing politics in the name of religion are trying to disturb the country’s communal harmony,” Adityanath alleged. The Adityanath-led state government has blamed the PFI for protests against the Citizenship Amendment Law that erupted last year and the subsequent vandalism in the state. The state government had also sought a ban on the organisation.

Adityanath also claimed that he has taken strict measures to remove the mafias and the prevalence of hooliganism in the state, amid criticism from opposition parties over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. “The mafia which was being harboured by the opposition parties, now they are on the run begging for their lives,” the chief minister claimed. “Due to strict measures and resolve of the government, mafia and hooliganism have become a thing of the past in the state.’’

Adityanath also said that the state government was continuously working towards transforming Uttar Pradesh into Uttam Pradesh or supreme state.

He further alleged that opposition political leaders were doing “lip service” in the name of farmers to get votes. He accused the opposition of indulging in communal politics, saying they were against the Kanwar Yatra but were alleging there was a communal disharmony. The opposition’s narrative had led to the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, the exodus of businessmen from Kariana and Kandhla and the killing of innocent youths, he added.

“Now, under the BJP rule, the Kanwar Yatra is taken out and flowers are showered on the Kanwarias,’’ he pointed out. Adityanath made the comments while addressing public meetings for the bypolls in Amroha, Bulandshahr and Tundla.