Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is facing a lot of trouble trying to keep his party’s Muslim votebank intact. On Saturday, Delhi Jama Masjid Imam Ahmed Bukhari had snapped all ties with his party. A day later, on Sunday, Mulayam was heckled at a large convention of Muslims organized by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind here.
Mulayam was in the midst of his speech when a group of Jamiat workers started raising slogans asking for former Cabinet Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya’s arrest in the recent murder of a Deputy SP Zia-ul-Haq. The slain police official’s wife has named Raja as the main accused in the murder case.
Senior Jamiat leaders faced a tough time trying to control the agitated workers. They were demanding that Raja Bhaiyya should be arrested immediately, and that dropping him from the ministry was not enough.
Mulayam tried to assuage the crowd by saying that the interest of the Muslims was the Akhilesh Yadav government’s top priority. “We will not hesitate in even sacrificing our government to fulfil the aspirations of the Muslims,” he said. “We will not let any kind of injustice be done against Muslims,” he added.
Mulayam also promised that false cases against innocent Muslim youth in the name of terrorism would soon be withdrawn and those jailed in these cases would be released. “I have already told (UP CM) Akhilesh and the chief secretary Javed Usmani to finalise a policy in this regard at the earliest,” the SP chief said.
Jamiat president Maulana Arshad Madani thanked Mulayam for his assurances but said Muslims would want to see the words translated into action soon. “We have nothing to do with politics. Our fight is for our ‘qaum’ (community),” he said.
The Jamiat, which is a formidable force as regards the representation of Muslims, is only the latest problem the SP supremo is facing. On Saturday, the Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid had declared that he would no longer support the SP as it had befooled the Muslims.
There is unrest among the minority community over the string of communal riots in the state since the Akhilesh government took over in March 2012. In the aftermath of the riots, it is the Muslims who have allegedly been targeted and harassed by the police.
Besides, the SP regime has failed to carry out its manifesto promise that innocent Muslim youths jailed in trumped-up charges would be released. The SP had also promised reservation to Muslims in proportion of their population. But nothing has been done in that direction yet. The Kunda (Pratapgarh) Deputy SP Zia-ul-Haq’s murder has proved to be the proverbial last straw, boiling over the anger amongst the Muslims.
Indeed, these signs do not seem to be the most favorable ones for the SP in the run-up to the next Lok Sabha election.