Will Mulayam's return to Muslims make difference?

Both Mulayam Singh and Kalyan Singh could not help each other and therefore they are back to their past folds. But given the political equation, things do not seem to be that easy for both of them. Mulayam is trying to woo Muslims back whereas Kalyan wants to remind RSS and BJP about his pivotal role in the Babri Masjid demolition. In other words, both these leaders are trying to project their past roles, i.e., in favour and against the demolition of the Babri structure.

In the recently held by-election in Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh has been badly defeated on his own turf. Samajwadi Party could not win even a single seat and the defeat of Mulayam's daughter-in-law from Firozabad and that of Etawah and Barthana, astonished Mulayam Singh who finally realised the damage done to his party and as a result he is reaching out to the Muslims. Mulayam Singh in his latest move has asked all presidents of SP's units to hold meetings in Muslim majority areas. Samajwadi Party after distancing from Kalyan Singh is now demanding reconstruction of the Babri Masjid, lifting ban on SIMI, judicial probe in Batla encounter and at the same time it is demanding the publication of Liberhan and Sri Krishna commissions reports. Will he be able to convince Muslims with his Muslim friendly mascot is the big question. Muslims are day by day becoming politically mature and such hollow statements will not be enough to convince them to switch  sides. Mulayam failed to analyse the extent of damage he was courting by embracing Kalyan, the anti-Muslim face of the BJP.

Zafaryab Jilani, convenor of the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee, said "Mulayam Singh Yadav will never be able to regain the support of the Muslims by raking up the Babri Masjid issue. We have never demanded the construction of the mosque at Ayodhya before the settlement of the land title issue by the court." After having lost so many Muslim faces, particularly some big names like Azam Khan, the Samajwadi Party now wants Abu Asim Azmi to be the new Muslim face of the party, hoping to get some mileage in the Hindi belt from the recent attack on him for taking oath in Hindi in Maharashtra assembly.

On the Mulayam and Kalyan episode, Azam Khan said, "I believe the recent Mulayam-Kalyan face-off is shadow boxing of sorts. Both know they have to scratch each other's back to politically survive." Muslim leaders say that snapping political ties with Kalyan Singh is guided by a political necessity and not for the issues and concerns of the Muslims. Khalid Rasheed Firangimahli, member of AIMPLB, said that SP has shown the door to Kalyan Singh due to the huge losses it suffered recently. So far none of the issues raised by the Samajwadi Party have been able to entice the community that had turned towards other political parties after Mulayam Singh joined hands with Kalyan Singh. (Mohammad Naushad Khan)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2009 on page no. 9

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