Amid the furore over a portrait of Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah hanging at Aligarh Muslim University, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Bahraich, Savitri Bai Phule, called him a mahapurush (great man) for his contribution towards India’s freedom struggle. “Jinnah was a great personality. He contributed to freedom struggle. He was, is and shall always remain a great person,” Phule was quoted as saying by ANI on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya too had called Jinnah a mahapurush (great man). Maurya had told reporters: “Jin bhi mahapurushon ka yogdan is rashtra ke nirman mein raha hai yadi unpar koi ungli uthata hai to bahut ghatiya baat hai… (It is shameful for anyone to point a finger on great leaders who contributed towards formation of the country).
This comes days after another BJP MP Satish Gautam, had sought an explanation from AMU vice-chancellor as to why a portrait of Jinnah was found to be hanging in one of the walls in the varsity. On May 2, some activists barged into the AMU campus and demanded that the portrait be taken down. A clash broke out between the AMU students and the protesting activists which left nearly 40 people injured. The tension on the university campus led to the postponement of exams to May 12.