Row over SP chief’s ‘Jinnah’ comment, BJP accuses Akhilesh of having ‘Talibani mindset’
The Jinnah controversy broke out again in Uttar Pradesh just ahead of the 2022 UP elections with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) playing up a remark by the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav accusing him of possessing a “Talibani mindset.”
“Sardar Patel, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah studied in the same institute and became barristers. They helped (India) get freedom and never backed away from any struggle,” the SP chief had said, a statement that has drawn much criticism.
As several Patels, (in UP Patels are OBCs), took objection to Yadav’s remarks and gathered in Hazratganj to carry out demonstrations. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath also demanded an apology from Yadav.
“He should apologise to the country for his remarks,” Adityanath said adding that the comparison with Sardar Patel, who united India, with Jinnah, responsible for the division of the country, was unacceptable.
Yadav’s remarks came while addressing a public meeting in UP’s Hardoi on Sunday, the birth anniversary of the country’s first deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The SP chief talked of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the same breath as Sardar Patel, father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Why is Akhilesh Yadav praising Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel?” BJP’s UP unit chief Swatantra Dev tweeted. BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Brij Lal, a former director-general of police (DGP), too joined in, suggesting Yadav should read history.
“Akhilesh Yadav must read history. Jinnah was involved in the mass murder of Hindus and also in the partition of the country,” Brij Lal said.
State’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said Akhilesh’s Jinnah remark reflected a warped mindset. “This remark is wholly unacceptable, hugely condemnable and the SP chief should learn history better and stop eulogising those who divided India. Under PM Modi’s leadership, we are moving towards the ‘one India, great India’ concept and the opposition leader is remembering the main architect of the country’s division’.
In April-May 2018, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP staged a massive protest demanding that the portrait of Pakistan’s founder be removed from the student union office of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), where it has been mounted for decades.
BJP’s Aligarh MP Satish Gautam had written to the AMU administration seeking removal of the Jinnah portrait. The AMU then pointed out that the portrait had been there for decades as part of a tradition where photographs of all life members are placed on the walls of the student union. Jinnah was the founder of the AMU.
Clashes between the students and police were reported on the campus. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath then said that there was no question of celebrating Jinnah in India.
Having compiled the experiences shared by these eyewitnesses, former head and professor of the department of medieval and modern history, Allahabad University Yogeshwar Tiwari and Prof Tiwari's research scholar Akshat Lal shared the information collated by them which would soon be published in a noted Indian research journal. Then vice-chancellor of the University, Amaranatha Jha, had even presided over all the events which were organised by the University, he shared.
When members of the West Bengal cabinet came to seek Mahatma Gandhi's blessings in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on August 15, 1947, he said they (ministers) now wore a crown of thorns and should remain humble and be forbearing. This has been recorded in a letter that Mahatma Gandhi wrote from Beliaghata, Calcutta, (now Kolkata) to Agatha Harrison (an English industrial welfare reformer and unofficial diplomat) on August 15, 1947.
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