Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has defended his statement on Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, saying the Bharatiya Janata Party should read history books again.
“Why should I explain the context? The BJP should read history books again,” he said.
Akhilesh Yadav on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, had equated Jinnah with Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru. Heaping praises on Patel on his 146th birth anniversary on October 31, Yadav raised eyebrows at one point when he equated four leaders, including Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
Addressing a public meeting in Hardoi, the SP leader had said, “Sardar Patel, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah studied in the same institute in Britain and became barristers. They helped (India) get freedom and never backed away from any struggle.”
Yadav’s statement stirred the old fault line of India and gave the saffron party ammunition to target the Samajwadi Party. The BJP asked Akhilesh to apologise to the country for glorifying Jinnah with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath saying Taliban mentality believed in breaking society.
Yogi Adityanath had said, “Sometimes it is in the name of caste... When they are not succeeding, they are raising fingers at great personalities and insulting the entire society. Jinnahwadis used to fire bullets on the followers of Lord Ram,” he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had also slammed Yadav, calling the SP chief “Akhilesh Ali Jinnah”.
Maurya further said that despite studying in the same university, Jinnah divided the country, while Sardar Patel united it.
“Yadav should immediately tender an apology to the country and the people,” Maurya had demanded.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati had also hit out at Yadav over his controversial statement. Criticising Akhilesh, Owaisi said that Muslims who stayed in India had rejected Jinnah’s two-nation theory and the SP leader should instead talk about the present.
Mayawati claimed that Yadav’s remarks on Jinnah and the BJP’s response to it were 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.