SP tries to cash in on Maya's remarks

The BSP chief's contention that Muslims are fanatics, continues to evoke strong reaction, reports Masoodul Hasan.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2006 15:55 IST

Desperate to retain the dwindling base in the Muslim community, the ruling Samajwadi Party has launched a massive drive to capitalise on BSP President Mayawati's controversial statement.

Even though Mayawati had quickly retracted from her controversial statement that "Muslims are fanatics", the SP, quite under pressure after the defeat in civic elections, doesn't want to loose the opportunity to project Mayawati as "anti-Muslim".

The SP on Sunday fielded Minister for Family Affairs Ahmad Hasan to take on the BSP chief. The party has also directed the youth wing to continue its agitation against her.

Hasan told newsmen that the real communal face of Mayawati had now come out. Claiming that the outcome of civic polls would not have any adverse impact on the party's fortune in the assembly elections, Hasan said Muslims would certainly teach a lesson to Mayawati.

The SP leaders are extremely perturbed over the migration of Muslim vote to the Congress in the corporation elections. The trend was visible almost in all 12 corporations. The Congress upsurge with the distinct tilt of Muslims in its favour has set alarm bells ringing in the SP. However, Hasan said that the community was solidly behind the party.

Enumerating the Mulayam Singh Yadav government's sops to the community Hasan said neither Mayawati nor the Congress-led UPA government had done anything for the welfare of the community.

While the SP has targeted Mayawati for calling Muslims as obscurantist, it has turned a blind eye to the fanatical activities of the Minister for Haj and Minorities Welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi. Hasan also pointed out how Mayawati had hobnobbed with the BJP in the past. The SP seems to be disturbed over the Muslims' migration to Congress in the Lucknow mayoral election.

The SP candidate Dr Madhu Gupta was pushed to the third position. Mayawati said she had diverted her vote to the Congress in Lucknow. This is certainly not music to the ear of the SP leadership.

Email mhasan@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 12, 2006 15:55 IST