In Lucknow,Sanjay reminds people his mother was Muslim

Like a true politician,film star and Samajwadi Party candidate for Lucknow Lok Sabha seat,Sanjay Dutt,kickstarted his poll campaign,seeking to revive his ties with Lucknow and its Muslims on Wednesday.

Written by Mohd Arshi Rafique | Lucknow | Published:February 19, 2009 12:29 am

Like a true politician,film star and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate for Lucknow Lok Sabha seat,Sanjay Dutt,kickstarted his poll campaign,seeking to revive his ties with Lucknow and its Muslims on Wednesday.

Accompanied by wife Manyata and SP leaders,“Munnabhai” visited the Jopling Road residence of Captain Sikander Abbas Rizvi,with whom his father Sunil Dutt had lived from 1949 to 1953. At the time,he was working as an anchor with the All India Radio.

Welcomed as “beta and bahu”,the couple was showered with rose petals. Manyata received “muh-dikhayee” (gift on first meeting with the bride) from Raees Jahan Rizvi Bano and Sarkar Jahan Rizvi,the two sisters of Captain Rizvi. The actor leafed through an album of photographs of his father with the Rizvi family.

Raees said: “My uncle Syed Muzaffar Hasan,who was in the Punjab Army at that time,brought Sunil Dutt sahab here.”

Raees recalled that his grandmother used to say that some day,Sunil’s son would come to Lucknow too. Her words have come true,” she said,wishing Dutt junior all the success.

To prepare the Aminabad house — in which Sunil Dutt spent his days in Lucknow — Rais Bano and Sarkar Bano went to the dilapidated house number 102,in the narrow Ganne Wali lane in Aminabad.

It was not possible for Sanjay to enter the narrow lane,crowded with fans waiting to catch a glimpse of the star. Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the visit had to be postponed for security reasons.

But Sanjay visited the house in the evening. “I am quite happy to meet the family with whom my father spent some cherished moments,” he said,insisting that Lucknow was second home to him.

He also minced no words to remind his audience that his mother was a Muslim.

Sunil Dutt had been christened Akhtar during his stay in Lucknow. “Those were turbulent times and it would have been tough for the refugee with a Hindu name to get shelter in the Muslim-dominated area,” said Taj Mohammed,a neighbour.

Dutt also visited the Samajwadi Party office on Vikramaditya Marg to attend a meet called to decide strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Party workers could not resist getting a “jaadu ki jhappi” from their star.

Later,dressed as Munnabhai,he went to meet a group of doctors at the residence of Dr Madhu Gupta,where too,fans eagerly awaited for “jhappis”. “This (the hug) will be my trump card this election,” said Sanjay,signing autographs for kids.

Kalyan good for party: Sanjay
Actor Sanjay Dutt was at a loss when peppered with political questions,especially those relating to his stand on the SP joining hands with Kalyan Singh,who carries a communal image. Looking at “elder brother” Amar Singh for help and approval,Dutt said,“Kalyan Singh is a leader of large stature. I have been told that his association will strengthen the party and weaken the BJP”.

He added,“Kalyan has also apologised for the incident. Now he will not repeat what he did in the past. He has now changed to secularism”. Sanjay’s father and two-time Congress MP Sunil Dutt was the only parliamentarian of the party to resign after Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6,1992. Unhappy the way his party had handled the situation,Sunil Dutt had given shelter to victims when the riots started in Bombay as an aftermath of Babri demolition. — ENS

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