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Published in the 1-15 December 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Khursheed's roadshow in UP

By Masood Hasan

Lucknow: The newly appointed UP Congress Committee chief Salman Khursheed has reacted sharply to the statement of the UP Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan and asked him why he is not building Babri Majid in Ayodhya when his party is in power in Uttar Pradesh? Khursheed was replying to a question about the statement of Azam Khan in which the latter has alleged that the Babri Masjid was demolished due to policies of late Rajiv Gandhi. He has advised Azam Khan not to play with the sentiments of the "innocent Muslims." Though Salman firmly said that Muslims had understood to some extent the gameplan of the Samajwadi Party which was misleading them on the Babri Masjid issue.

The UPCC chief told this correspondent that the Congress had cleared its stand on the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Urdu University proposed to be set up in Rampur. He said that his party favoured the setting up of the Urdu University in Rampur but it was against the nomination of a politician as its pro-chancellor for life. The Congress has also demanded in the state assembly that a committee of Urdu experts should be appointed to select a suitable person for the post of the pro-chancellor, he said.

Salman became aggressive and sharply reacted when it was brought to his knowledge that Azam Khan has termed him a "Shiksha mafia." Salman asked Azam Khan to tell the people how many Urdu schools are running with the grant given by the Samajwadi Party government in the state and how many Urdu teachers were appointed till now by the state government. 

When his attention was drawn to the reservation policy for Muslims in government jobs, the UPCC chief said that reservation for the Muslims was in the party’s manifesto and he wanted a debate for its implementation in UP. He reminded that the reservation policy had been implemented in Kerala and Karnataka, so why it could not be implemented in Uttar Pradesh? While pulling up Mulayam Singh, he asked the Chief Minister of UP to clarify his government’s policy on the reservation issue. Keeping a close watch on the present political situation in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress leadership has appointed Salman Khursheed, a firebrand Muslim leader, for the second time as the president of UP Congress to woo Muslims and make a dent in the votebank of the Samajwadi Party. Emboldened by the success of the roadshow undertaken by Salman Khursheed from Delhi to Lucknow, Congress leaders hope that Salman’s tenure as the UPCC chief would brighten the party’s prospects among the Muslim community. Political pundits and veteran Congress leaders claim that his second innings as the UPCC chief would bear fruits for the party in the state.

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