No iftar at UP chief minister’s residence this year as Yogi takes cue from Modi

Other BJP chief ministers, Rajnath Singh and Kalyan Singh, had hosted iftar parties during their tenure

india Updated: Jun 02, 2017 14:43 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Yogi Adityanath,Ramzan,Muslims In India
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath visits a temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday. Adityanath has not hosted an iftar, the first meal Muslims have after the day-long Roza fast in his political career. (DEEPAK GUPTA/HT PHOTO)

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is unlikely to host an iftar party this Ramzan, sources close to him said.

Iftar is the first meal Muslims have during the Ramzan month after a day’s fasting, or Roza. Politicians across parties have for years hosted iftar parties as a way to reach out to minority communities, if not to celebrate the sacred month.

“Yogi is unlikely to host any iftar party,” said a senior officer, wishing not to be identified.

Adityanath is a Mahant — the chief priest — of the Gorakhnath temple and he has never held an iftar.

The chief minister has, however, held Hindu rituals during Navratri.

Muslim leaders said his decision is a reflection of his politics.

“Hosting Roza Iftar is a tradition that has been followed even outside India, including in the White House. It reflects the hosts’ respect and harmony. Even BJP leaders Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh did so as chief ministers. A decision not to host iftar party at chief minister’s residence only affects the secular credentials of the country,” said All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, who is also the Imam of Lucknow Idgah.

Several prominent leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party have hosted iftars, chief among them fromer Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpyee and former chief ministers of UP Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not, and Adityanath’s decision appears to be taking a cue from that.

This will be the second time a chief minister of UP, the state with the most Muslim population in the country, will not host an iftar since the practice began in 1974 when Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna was the chief minister. The first was during the brief tenure of Ram Prakash Gupta in 2000.

Adityanath’s predecessors, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati, will host iftars at their residence this year.

The Congress too has scheduled an official iftar gathering at its office.

The Uttar Pradesh Raj Bhawan has also proposed to host an iftar on June 23.

First Published: Jun 02, 2017 14:42 IST