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Yogi Adityanath ignores Rajnath’s advise, invokes Jinnah again while attacking Opposition

Jinnah became the centre of controversy in UP in 2018 when violent protests broke out at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) after BJP MP Satish Gautam sought the removal of his portrait from the campus.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 28, 2022 4:22:44 pm
CM Yogi Adityanath had earlier criticised SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for his remarks over Jinnah. (Express File Photo)

“They are worshipers of ‘Jinnah’, we are worshipers of ‘Sardar Patel’. Pakistan is dear to them, we sacrifice our lives on Maa Bharati,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tweeted on Friday. This comes just a day after Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh had said that issues of “kisan’s ganna” or farmers’ sugarcane should be raised, and not Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s name, in the context of state politics.

“I do not know why Pakistan’s founder Jinnah’s name is often invoked during elections. Those who want to politicise this… in UP’s politics, Jinnah’s name should not be invoked. Instead, we should talk of farmers’ sugarcane,” Singh said Thursday. He was speaking at a voter interaction in Modinagar, Ghaziabad district, as he joined the election campaign in Western UP.

Several BJP leaders have taken a swipe at the Opposition calling them supporters of Jinnah in their speeches.

While the relevance of Jinnah in UP politics goes back a few years, more recently, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav had talked about Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah as leaders who fought for India’s independence.

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“Sardar Patelji, the nation’s father Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah became barristers after studying at the same institute. They studied at the same place. They became barristers, got us independence. They did not step back from any kind of struggle,” the SP leader had said during an event in Hardoi in November last year.

His comments came under fire from CM Adityanath who said that Yadav’s comparison of Jinnah with Patel was “shameful” and called it a “Talibani mentality.” BSP chief Mayawati said Yadav remarks on Jinnah and the BJP’s response to it are part of a well-thought-out strategy of the two parties to vitiate the atmosphere on Hindu-Muslim lines ahead of the Assembly polls.

Jinnah became the centre of controversy in UP in 2018 when violent protests broke out at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) after BJP MP Satish Gautam sought the removal of his portrait from the campus.

Over two dozen people were injured when AMU students clashed with police. The clash was triggered as police prevented a students’ march against an attempt by activists of RSS affiliate Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) to storm into the campus earlier in the day. A function to grant life membership of the students’ union to former vice-president Hamid Ansari, scheduled on the same day, was called off and Ansari had to return to Delhi.

The controversy became significant ahead of the bypoll in the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency, which was to be held later that month. In an apparent reference to the controversy, Adityanath in a speech just days before the bypoll had said, “Koi keh raha ki ganna ya Jinnah. Main keh sakta hun ki ganna hamara mudda hai lekin Jinnah ki tasvir bhi nahi lagne denge hum log (some people are chanting — sugar cane or Jinnah. I can say, sugarcane is an issue for us but we will also not allow Jinnah’s portrait).”

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