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ID mubarak

After years of caste and community politics, crazy identity politics returns to its homeland: Uttar Pradesh.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2010 20:49 IST

Uttar Pradesh politics has always been about playing one identity against the other. But over the last few years, without the usual lustre and bombast of caste, sub-caste and community politics, the UP political scene seems a bit cut-rate wan. So imagine our relief when coming a day of each other, two incidents brought back the colour of identity politics that the heartland is so famous for. First was the kerfuffle that actually took place in Delhi, outside Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's residence.

Apparently two sets of Congress delegations from UP came to blows after one Congresswoman from UP was allegedly mocked by another for wearing a pink sari. "And so?" you ask. Well, the taunts came because pink is known to be UP chief minister and BSP leader's favourite colour and the Congress lady in pink, according to her accuser, was kowtowing to Behenji instead of giving her 'cent per cent' loyalty to Soniaji.

A day later, it was the turn of Samajwadi Party returnee Azam Khan to disrupt Amartya Sen's theory of multiplicity of identities. Mr Azad, in true SP-style, allegedly observed at a seminar on 'The status of Muslims in India' that the Congress had "only one Muslim to showcase — Ghulam Nabi Azad — who hailed from Kashmir and not from India". While coming from Mr Khan, the statement won't exactly set the Pakistanis taking direct flights to the United Nations, it does highlight the nuances about identity in UP politics. For Mr Khan, Mr Azad is not really a representative of the Indian Muslim as he's from Kashmir, thereby making India's first prime minister's 'Indianness' shaky. What next from the UP heartland? Someone accusing Mulayam Singh Yadav of being communal just because he was once friends with Kalyan Singh?