Former BJP leader Kalyan Singh’s new-found ties with the Samajwadi Party have done far more than just draw Muslim flak. It has stoked the dying embers of the “Babri Masjid movement” to life as polls near.
At least seven founding members of the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC) will meet after 13 years on February 8 in the Capital to discuss ways to re-launch the movement in view of “Singh’s own attempts to revive his political career”.
Singh was the chief minister of UP when the disputed mosque was pulled down by Hindu activists and is viewed as one of those responsible. His statement on Thursday, taking moral responsibility for the demolition, has not gone down well with Muslims.
“We want to re-launch the movement. Kalyan Singh is not forgotten,” Javed Habib, one of the founding members of the AIBMC, said.
Former vice-chairman of the committee Imam Ahmed Bukhari of Jama Masjid is understood to be in favour of a fresh campaign. “Since Kalyan Singh has taken responsibility, he shouldn’t be in the Samajwadi Party, but in jail.”
If efforts to revive the movement succeed, it could turn Muslim voters against the SP. Another founder-member, Kanpur-based Maulana Abul Barkat Najmi, said over the phone that on Friday he would issue a fatwa (edict) against voting for Mulayam Singh.
Najmi is the custodian of the Khanka Sharif Shah Ghulam Rasool Numba, a shrine in Kanpur.
Many disgruntled Muslim MPs of the SP are expected to back the AIBMAC’s effort. Azam Khan, one of the founder-members of the SP, has openly opposed Mulayam’s dalliance with Kalyan, whose son Rajveer Singh was inducted into the SP as general secretary.