Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls scheduled to be held next year, the opposition political parties have tugged onto the trope of evoking Mohammed Ali Jinnah and his role in the Indian independence moment.
Failing to have any topics to polarize the voters as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has made the elections about development, another leader named Om Prakash Rajbhar, chief of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party remarked that there would have been “no partition” if Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had been made the first prime minister of India.
“Had Jinnah been made the first prime minister, the partition of the country would not have happened,” news agency PTI quoted Rajbhar as saying to reporters in Varanasi.
He further added, “Think why Atalji and Advaniji also praised Jinnah’s thoughts. That is why I think that if Jinnah had been made the first Prime Minister of the country, then there would have been no Partition of the country.”
Rajbhar, a partner of Akhilesh who himself praised Jinnah
It is pertinent to note that Rajbhar and his party had announced a coalition with Samajwadi Party (SP) a few days ago for the upcoming assembly polls.
Akin to Rajbhar, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav, whilst addressing a rally during the Samajwadi Vijay Rath Yatra last month had waxed lyrical about Jinnah.
Thinly veiling his love for Jinnah by comparing him to the Iron Man of India, Akhilesh said, “Sardar Patel used to know the land, Sardar Patel took decisions holding the land, he used to understand the land so he made his decisions and that is why he is known as the Iron man Of India. Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jinnah, they all came out of the same institution. They all studied at the same institute, they became barristers and gave freedom.”
#WATCH | Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah studied in the same institute. They became barristers and fought for India's freedom… It was Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who imposed a ban on an ideology (RSS): SP chief Akhilesh Yadav pic.twitter.com/Pz3HkSrqn8
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 31, 2021
BJP calls Akhilesh a man with a ‘Talibani mindset’
At the time, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi had called out Akhilesh by stating, “Mulayam Singh ji will also hold his head after hearing this from Akhilesh Yadav, who has studied in Australia. The country considers Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the villain of the partition. Calling Jinnah the hero of freedom is the politics of Muslim appeasement.”
Meanwhile, UP CM Yogi Adityanath had called the remarks as coming from a man with a “Talibani mindset”.
When put under pressure by the media regarding the controversy, Akhilesh retorted in a rather annoyed manner, “Why should I say the context? I would say read the books again.”
Congress evoking Jinnah as well
It’s not only SP and its alliance partners that are evoking Jinnah, Congress has been doing the same as well. As reported by TFI, Congress leader Tariq Hameed Karra found himself in the middle of a raging controversy after news reports emerged, and BJP alleged that during the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting last month, Karra made ‘derogatory remarks’ regarding India’s first deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
Reportedly, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra in a press conference remarked, “Today it has been published in the newspapers that in the CWC meeting held two days ago, some questions were raised regarding Kashmir. At the meeting, senior Congress leader and CWC member Tariq Hameed Karra created an atmosphere of confusion regarding Kashmir. He also said Jawaharlal Nehru ji had integrated Jammu and Kashmir into India and Sardar Patel tried to keep Kashmir out of India,”
The BJP also sought to know whether the Congress party will reprimand Karra and sack him from the CWC. “Karra had said that Sardar Patel colluded with Jinnah and was trying to keep Kashmir separate from India. When Sardar Patel was being vilified in the CWC meeting, did Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi object to it?” asked BJP
Today's newspapers published that in recent CWC meet, sr Congress leader&CWC member Tariq Hameed Karra created misconception over Kashmir & said that Jawaharlal Nehru is the one who integrated J&K in India while Sardar Patel tried to keep it separate from India: Sambit Patra, BJP pic.twitter.com/gh8zrLKbao
— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2021
If Jinnah makes has made a sudden splash in the charged political climate of the country, it can only be attributed that a major election campaign is underway. The opposition is working behind the scenes on a collective strategy to make Jinnah as the fulcrum of dividing different sections of society.
The likes of SP and Congress understand that they do not stand any chance against the tsunami of Yogi and thus any outside chance of their win can only be made possible by social engineering the different vote blocs.
However, even after 70 years of independence, if political leaders believe that they can only woo the Muslims by bringing a forgotten dead man, accused of masterminding the bloodiest partition in world history- it speaks volumes about how Muslims are only used as a political pawn in the country.