03:45 GMT28 November 2020
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    Akhilesh Yadav, the 47-year-old head of Samajwadi Party and former state chief, has been taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over rising lawlessness in Uttar Pradesh. The Yogi government has been changing the colour of the buildings and location names in the city since it took over in 2017.

    The painting of public toilets in orange and green in India’s Uttar Pradesh state has invited strong criticism from the main opposition Samajwadi Party, which uses the colours in its flag.

    The images of the public toilets in question were shared on the official Twitter account of Samajwadi Party, which was in power in the state before the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the state polls in 2017. India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, is headed by a robe-wearing Hindu monk, Yogi Adityanath, an associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    ​“Those in power are indulging in a political vendetta against the main opposition party in the state by painting the toilets in its flag colours. We demand that the toilet be repainted and strict action taken against the culprits," Samajwadi Party said in a tweet in Hindi on Thursday. 

    The toilets in question are located in Gorakhpur, the home turf of Yogi Adityanath.

    The incident surfaces amid heightened criticism of rising lawlessness in the state under Yogi Adityanath. The northern state witnessed the highest surge in crimes against women among all Indian states between 2015 and 2019, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

    Adityanath has also been blamed by politicians from across the spectrum for leading an administration in which crimes against underprivileged socail groups have risen steeply over the last few years. 

    A fourth of all crimes against Scheduled Castes in India in 2019 took place in Uttar Pradesh, according to government statistics. The state’s rising crime rates have become a talking point in the country in the wake of the brutal gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl allegedly by four upper-caste men last month in Hathras.

    The Samajwadi Party, the second-biggest party in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, launched street protests across the state last month to express their displeasure over the rising tide of lawlessness.

    Spelling out his plans for the next state election in 2022, Samajwadi Party chief and former state chief Akhilesh Yadav has expressed confidence that his outfit would storm back to power in the next state polls.

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