Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has created a flutter in political circles here by claiming that no communal riot victim was left at the relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, and those living there now were supporters or workers of Congress and BJP. He said this was part of a conspiracy to tarnish the image of the Akhilesh Yadav government in UP.
“There are no riot victims at all in the camps. There is not even one. You can check. These are people who are conspirators. BJP and Congress have conspired. They have asked people to stay there at night and sit on dharnas. This is conspiracy of the people there…”They (riot victims) have all gone. Congress and BJP are provoking them,” Yadav said. His remarks have evoked condemnation from Congress and BJP.
Yadav’s surprising statement came at an event organised at the SP office here to mark the late prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh’s birth anniversary. Mulayam seemed to be rather upset over Rahul Gandhi’s surprise visit to Muzaffarnagar to meet the riot victims on Sunday, and dubbed it as “secular tourism”.
Without naming Rahul, he told party workers, “A big Congress leader sneaked into these relief camps like a thief at night; and what was worse that while he expressed satisfaction with everything in the camps, he went about criticising everything once he was out of the camps.” He also alleged that Rahul tried to “incite” the inmates at the camps.
The SP chief’s latest attack seems to have triggered a fresh round of sparring between the SP and Congress.
Mulayam is aware of the disillusionment of Muslims with the SP government that had failed to provide them protection during the riots in which Muslims largely remained at the receiving end. At a time when Mulayam and the SP machinery were trying to heal the wounds of Muslims to ensure their support for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul’s visit seemed like a spanner in the works.
Mulayam’s desperation for the Muslim vote is natural since that alone can help him fulfil his dream of becoming prime minister if both Congress and BJP fail to get the desired numbers.
In fact, Mulayam was frank enough to blurt out his long cherished desire before his party workers at the meeting: “You all have made Akhilesh chief minister, but I also have to do something -- make me PM”.
The fact is that the Akhilesh regime has been on the defensive over the deplorable conditions prevailing in the relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. At least 10 children have died in these camps due to the extreme cold and lack of proper facilities and medicare. Media reports about these deaths and the pitiable condition of the camps seem to have got Mulayam’s goat.
Apparently, he made this statement in a fit of anger and desperation.