With assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh just five months away, the attempts are being made to communalise the political atmosphere by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party throwing the hint that the campaign for 2022 elections is likely to be bitter and personal.
It all started with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s ‘abbajaan’ comment when he referred to Mulayam Singh Yadav as ‘abbajaan’ of Akhilesh Yadav. In an interview, Chief Minister said that Akhilesh’s abbajaan claimed that not even a bird can flutter (parinda bhi par nahi maar sakta) around Ayodhya but now a Ram Temple is coming up there.
Samajwadi Party protested. The protest even spilled over in the ongoing monsoon session of the UP Legislative Assembly where the SP leaders said that the Chief Minister should desist from using such words.
Yogi upped the ante and said: “SP wants votes from Muslims but does not want me to use the word abbajaan.”
BJP supported Yogi. They said abbajaan is respectable Muslim word. Why SP leaders are angry over CM using this Muslim word, they ask.
In a subtle way, Yogi added communal colour to the political debate. UP has a nearly 20 per cent Muslim population, the concentration is the highest in the western region at 26-46 percent.
The BJP-led government further drove a wedge between Hindus and Muslims when it announced setting-up of an Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Deoband, a town known for its Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband.
Adityanath’s media advisor Shalabh Mani Tripathi, linked the government decision to the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan, exposing the BJP’s design. He tweeted in Hindi on August 17: “Amid the Taliban’s savagery, here is a piece of news from UP. Yogi Ji has decided to open a commando training center in Deoband.” Over half a dozen ATS officers selected from across the state would be deputed there, he said, adding that the decision was “causing pain” to “those protecting terrorists”.
The decision was irked the clerics of Deoband as they said that the government’s decision to set up ATS in Deoband is a deliberate attempt to equate terror with Deoband and malign the image of the seminary.
Maulana Sami Ul Haq, known as the Father of the Taliban in Pakistan, who set up Darul Uloom Haqqania in Peshawar where the Taliban were trained, was a student of Darul Uloom Deoband. He was also a member of the Pakistan senate and was assassinated in 2018 in Rawalpindi.
This is not the first time the ruling BJP will vitiate the atmosphere. In the previous elections, the BJP has raised Ali-Bajrangbali analogy while Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2017 elections had raised shamshaan-kabristan analogy.