The BJP Monday attacked Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav for “comparing” Muhammad Ali Jinnah with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, calling his statement “shameful” and seeking an apology.
While Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said an “insult” to Sardar Patel will not be accepted, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya slammed Yadav, calling him ”Akhilesh Ali Jinnah”. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and BSP president Mayawati also hit out at Yadav for speaking of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah on Sunday in the same breath as leaders who fought for India’s independence.
UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh said that Yadav stands with traitors and those who broke the country. Speaking at a programme in Moradabad, Adityanath said, “I was listening to Akhilesh ji’s statement yesterday. He was comparing Jinnah, who divided the country, with Sardar Patel, who brought the nation together. This is a shameful statement.” He said, “Talibani mentality believes in breaking society. Sometimes it is in the name of caste… When they are not succeeding, they are raising fingers at ‘mahapurush’ (great personalities) and insulting the entire society.”
The chief minister said this cannot be accepted and everyone should condemn it. “Yadav should regret his statement as insulting Sardar Patel will not be accepted,” “Sardar Patel is the basis of India’s unity and integrity, and also is the nation’s architect,'” he said, adding that the country is pursuing ‘ek Bharat, shresth Bharat’ under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The credit of keeping free India “undivided” goes to Sardar Patel, Adityanath said. “I think the people of the country, especially those from Uttar Pradesh, will never accept this divisive mentality (of Akhilesh Yadav),” he added.
The deputy chief minister hit out at Yadav, saying, “If Akhilesh Yadav is called Akhilesh Ali Jinnah, then there will be no difference. name of Jinnah, he has shown disrespect to countless people who sacrificed their lives for the country. He has also insulted Sardar Patel by indulging in politics of appeasement.” “Despite studying in the same university, one person (Jinnah) divided the country, while the other (Sardar Patel) united it. Yadav should immediately tender an apology to the country and the people,” Maurya added.
In a tweet in Hindi, BSP chief Mayawati alleged that Yadav’s remarks and the BJP’s response to them are part of a well-thought-out strategy of the two parties to vitiate the atmosphere on Hindu-Muslim lines ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.
Owaisi also criticised Yadav’s remarks, saying that Muslims who stayed in India had rejected Jinnah’s two-nation theory and the SP leader should talk about the present. The SP president, in his address at an event in Hardoi on Sunday, had lavished praise on Patel on his 146th birth anniversary but raised eyebrows at one point when he appeared to equate the four leaders, including Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
“Sardar Patel, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah studied in the same institute and became barristers. They helped (India) get freedom and never backed away from any struggle,” Yadav had said. He had also referred to the ban imposed on the RSS by Patel, the then home minister, following Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in 1948, saying only he could do it.