Vikram Saini, BJP MLA from Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar district, has triggered a row by saying that India is a country for Hindus. Speaking at an event on the occasion of New Year’s Day on Monday, Saini said, “Kuch nalayak netao ne in lambi dadhi valo ko yahan rok kar rakha. In logo ne jameen aur daulat hathiyaee. Agar ye na hote toh yeh sab hamara hota (A few incompetent leaders stopped these people with long beards from leaving. These people usurped land and wealth. Had they not been here, all this would have been ours)”.
“Main kattar Hinduwadi hoon. Yeh meri pehchaan hain… yeh Hinduo ka desh hai (I am a staunch Hindu. This is my identity. This country belongs to the Hindus),” the BJP leader said at the event organised to felicitate meritorious students.
Saini also said that during the Samajwadi Party regime in the state, “members of a particular community” were a major beneficiary of public welfare schemes. “While the BJP government believes in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, the previous government worked with a bias and favoured members of a particular community. Jiski jitni lambi dadhi, usko utna lamba cheque (The longer one’s beard, the more the amount on his cheque),” he said at the event, a video of which has circulated on social media.
Saini told The Indian Express over the phone that his remarks were distorted. “I said nothing about the time of Partition. I only said that people with long beards have been a beneficiary of government schemes during the previous SP regime in Uttar Pradesh. My statement has been distorted.The media shows the speech in parts. Hence, the confusion.”
The 48-year-old MLA had earlier sparked a controversy when he said he would break the limbs of “cow killers” in the state and promised not to spare those who refuse to sing Vande Mataram. He had been booked and arrested for inflammatory speeches during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.