Alleging a ‘breakdown’ in the law and order machinery in Maharashtra, Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh said unarmed workers of his party will travel in trains in that state to prevent north Indians from being attacked.
“There is a breakdown…whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional has to be decided by the Cabinet,” Singh said on Wednesday evening.
The SP general secretary claimed that he has directed his Maharashtra unit chief Abu Asim Azmi to travel with party workers in trains to protect north Indians. “They will not travel with arms but with self-confidence…carrying arms will give an issue to Raj Thackeray,” he added.
He said despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention, a second murder (of a north Indian) has taken place in Maharashtra.
Singh added that though “the PM’s political will cannot be doubted … (but) something has to be done about the Chief Minister,” he said, while condemning the killing of a UP migrant in the state on Wednesday.
Singh hoped that through his repeated requests, “something can be done about the (Maharashtra) Chief Minister … I am sure he will be pulled up”.
He said despite Centre’s insistence, Maharashtra government failed to take urgent steps against unabated violence, “which has sullied the UPA government’s image”.
On being asked as to why SP was supporting the UPA government despite escalation of violent incidents in Maharashtra against north Indians, Singh said, “I see a ray of hope in the UPA leadership, as they can’t avoid voters in north India, otherwise an emotional trigger will ruin their fortunes during elections.”
On his repeated request for a judicial inquiry into the Jamia Nagar encounter, Amar Singh said though both PM and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were “positive” about it, he could not understand the delay behind such a decision.
To a poser on LJP Chief Ram Vilas Paswan’s demand for imposition of President’s Rule in Maharashtra, Singh said since SP was not in the UPA coalition, he could only alert the central government.
“Paswan is in the Cabinet and as his party is part of the government, he is in a position to ask it for imposition of President’s Rule. But we are supporting the government from outside and can only alert it about the situation in Maharashtra,” he added.
When asked whether SP’s image would be damaged in Uttar Pradesh by supporting the UPA, Singh said, “we are supporting the government from outside and we are standing by it for a larger secular plank. Though attack on north Indians is a burning issue right now, communalism is a bigger threat.”
Reacting to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s concern over killing of Rahul Raj, Singh said: “if he is so concerned, he should ask BJP to prevent Shiv Sena from taking credit of instigating violence against north Indians”.
He said that with MNS and Shiv Sena indulging in a race to take credit over instigating attacks on north Indians, the “casual approach” of Maharashtra Congress leaders “is very dangerous for national interest”.
The SP leader claimed that “if Mulayam Singh Yadav takes the lead”, then there might be a possibility of north Indian leaders getting united over the issue.
“Under Mayawati this is not possible, but if Mulayam Yadav takes the lead, then it can be done”.
Singh said that the UP government has announced a compensation of only Rs two lakh for family of migrant Dharam Dev, who was killed on Wednesday in Maharashtra. “We would be giving Rs five lakhs from our side,” he said.