Terming the Muzaffarnagar riots a "big blot" on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's government, union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said the violence had dissipated the hope he had evoked after taking over the country's most populous state.
Talking to reporters at the state Congress headquarters, Ramesh accused the state's Samajwadi Party (SP) government of slow response during the riots that deteriorated the situation and caused loss of lives.
As many as 48 people died and thousands were displaced from their homes during the communal riots.
Muzaffarnagar riots a 'big blot' on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's government, says Jairam Ramesh
"Akhilesh is a friend but I have to say that the riots are a big blot on his government and on his very own administrative acumen," the minister said, adding Akhilesh had "ushered in a lot of hope when he was elected chief minister of Uttar Pradesh but those hopes now stand dashed".
Ramesh also slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said the party along with the SP were out to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on communal lines.
"The polity in the state is polarised by these two parties and they would be benefitted by the riots," he said.
Speaking on challenges in the LS polls, Ramesh, closely associated with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, said the main contest this time would be between Congress and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
He termed the BJP a "frontal organisation of the RSS" and said that nationally it stood no chance against Congress.