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SP's iftar politics to raise heat in UP

Samajwadi's roza iftar politics in Hardwar is all set to create another political controversy, writes M Hasan.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2006 18:17 IST

A roza iftar gathering organised by the Samajwadi Party at Har ki Pauri in Hardwar during its two-day national executive committee meeting on October 14-15 is all set to snowball into major political controversy in election-bound Uttar Pradesh.

The iftar party in Haridwar as well as another one in Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's official residence in Lucknow last week could be fodder to both the SP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the election-bound state.

Nearly a dozen Samajwadi Party leaders, who had assembled at Hardwar for the national executive committee meeting, organised a roza iftar (breaking of day long fast) party at VIP Ghat on river Ganga. Apparently, holding such events at the holy site is banned.

The chief minister, who has been desperately trying to keep the Muslim community in good humour, was quick to defend his party leaders’ action at the sanctum sanctorum of highly revered Hindu religious place. But BJP supported by Hindu Jagran Manch, Sadhus and Shiv Sainiks took to streets to clash with SP activists in the temple town.

While Yadav pontificated that “Gangasab ki hai" (river Ganga belonged to everybody) the BJP assailed the SP for defiling the sanctity of the area. Was the move deliberate or just by chance is debatable, but the chief minister by joining the issue has given ample indication that SP’s minorityism knew no bounds.

Whether minority community has been socially and economically benefited in the state during the last three years is open to question, gimmicks are galore to catch the attention. The Iftar controversy flowing from Hardwar is presumably aimed at keeping the atmosphere heated in the run up to crucial state assembly elections.

Even though there is now no-holds barred battle between the SP and BJP on minority issues, the strategy and counter strategy of both parties apparently seems to help each other. The minority community apprehension of BJP’s re-emergence is always politically advantageous to SP.

While the BJP leader Kalyan Singh in September rushed to Ayodhya to announce “Musalmanoka vote nahin chahiye” (we don’t need votes of Muslims), the chief minister visited Nadwatul Uloom, popularly known as “Nadva” to enumerate achievements of his government to chairman All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Rabe Hasani Nadvi. Later Nadvi, much to the consternation of the board members, appeared with Yadav on a public platform in Rampur.