Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and senior minister Mohd Azam Khan on Monday launched a surprise attack on party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav over the latter’s Saturday meeting with Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal.
Khan, the most visible Muslim face of the ruling SP in the state, described Singhal as among the chief architects of the Babri Masjid demolition.
This is the first time since the parting of ways with the SP a few years ago and later rejoining it ahead of the 2012 polls that Khan has targeted Mulayam in this fashion. Khan had left the party over Mulayam’s brief tryst with Kalyan Singh who was the UP CM when the Babri Masjid was demolished.
“This meeting and the hype it got has reopened the wounds of Muslims who are still coming to terms with Babri demolition,” he said in Lucknow.
He also questioned the reported consent Mulayam had given to a delegation of mostly-Ayodhya saints and BJP and VHP l eaders on Saturday about agreeing to mediate with Muslims for the temple cause.
“It has been reported that Mulayam Singhji accepted the VHP invite to mediate with Muslims on the issue. If that is true, I wish to make it clear that only sort of mediation that the Muslims would be ready for is mediation for reconstruction of the Babri mosque,” he said.
“Expecting any decency from those who felled the Babri mosque would be foolhardy. That’s why I don’t understand the reason for Mulayam’s meeting with Singhal. At least the manner in which the details of the meeting came out in the media has certainly made Muslims wonder if such importance to leaders like Singhal was required at all,” Khan said.
He said due to Mulayam and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s meeting with Singhal’s delegation, the CM’s pre-decided press briefing on the issue of UP’s development was delayed by two hours.
He also claimed that it was only after the Babri demolition that the “country witnessed the use of RDX, AK-47 and suicide bombers. Communal riots began soon after that in which Muslims suffered the loss of lives. Several Muslim women were raped and then of course the Gujarat riots happened.”
“I hope t hat Mulayam Singhji won’t compromise with his secular image that he has so assiduously built after years of toil and hard work,” he further said.
Call it coincidence or a bid to placate the mercurial Khan, but within hours of the outburst, the Samajwadi Party government hurriedly announced a ban on the VHP sponsored 20-day chaurasi kos yatra at Ayodhya over which Singhal had led a saffron delegation to Mulayam ostensibly to seek clearance for the yatra.
The VHP had planned a massive build-up for the yatra that was to start from August 25. It had sent invites to saints from across the country.