Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, under attack over his comments counting Mohammad Ali Jinnah among the icons of India’s freedom struggle, was not spared by AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, who curtly advised him to “read some history”.
Akhilesh Yadav has been slammed by the BJP over his comments at a public rally, in which he takes the name of Jinnah – the founder of Pakistan – in the same breath as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
“Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah studied at the same institute and became barristers. They became barristers and they fought for India’s freedom. They never backed away from any struggle,” said the Samajwadi Party chief at Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh, campaigning for the state election early next year.
The BJP accused Mr Yadav of “Muslim appeasement” ahead of the polls, with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath calling it “Talibani mentality”.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the MP from Hyderabad, also tore into the comment.
“If Akhilesh Yadav thinks that by giving such statements he can make a section of people happy, I think he is wrong and he should change his advisers. He should also educate himself and read some history,” said Mr Owaisi.
He added: “Akhilesh Yadav should understand that Indian Muslims have nothing to do with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Our elders rejected the two-nation theory and chose India as their country.”
Earlier, Yogi Adityanath had demanded an apology from the Samajwadi Party chief. “His divisive mindset came to the fore once again when he tried to glorify Jinnah by equating Sardar Patel with him. It’s the Talibani mentality that believes in dividing. The Samajwadi national president should apologize for this,” said the UP Chief Minister.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati also targeted Akhilesh Yadav, who was briefly her ally for the 2019 national election. She alleged that Mr Yadav’s remarks and the BJP’s response to them were a strategy planned by both parties to polarise voters ahead of the Uttar Pradesh polls.
“The politics of the SP and BJP have been complementary to each other. Since the thinking of these two parties is casteist and communal, they depend on each other for their existence. That is why when SP is in power, the BJP becomes strong; when the BSP is in power, the BJP becomes weak,” said Mayawati.