Mani Shankar Aiyar fires a fresh salvo, lauds Jinnah, faces BJP heat

Amid the row over Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has sparked a fresh row by referring to the Muslim leader as Quaid-e-Azam.

Mani Shankar Aiyar fires a fresh salvo, lauds Jinnah, faces BJP heat

Amid the row over Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has sparked a fresh row by referring to the Muslim leader as Quaid-e-Azam.

Aiyar triggered a controversy as he lauded the founder of Pakistan even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are already in a war of words over the controversial legacy of Jinnah.

Hitting out at Aiyar was BJP chief Amit Shah, who said that there was an “amazing telepathy” between the Congress party and Pakistan. Referring to the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, the BJP chief said that he failed to understand why Congress involved Pakistan.

He tweeted, “Congress and Pakistan have amazing telepathy. Yesterday Pakistan Government remembered Tipu Sultan, whose Jayanti Congress marks with fanfare and today Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar admires Jinnah. Be it Gujarat or Karnataka polls, I fail to understand why Congress involves Pakistan!”

This comes even before dust could settle over a portrait of Jinnah in the central library of AMU. Students of the university have been agitating for the past few days, demanding action against the right-wing protesters, who entered the campus and demanded the removal of Jinnah's portrait from the student union's office. The row started after local BJP MP Satish Gautam wrote to AMU, raising objections to the portrait.

Meanwhile, Mumbai BJP MLA Prabhat Lodha has demanded that Jinnah House and Jinnah Hall should be converted to cultural centres and that Jinnah’s name must be removed from them. Jinnah House was home of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Mumbai and the hall was named after the Muslim League leader.

The BJP has also hit out at those who opposed the call to remove Jinnah's portrait in AMU, saying those standing with Jinnah also stood for terrorist Afzal Guru. BJP spokesperson Sudanshu Trivedi said that those who are standing for Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah also stood for terrorists like Afzal Guru.

Speaking to ANI, Trivedi castigated sympathisers of Jinnah, who was responsible for country's partition.

"People who are standing with Jinnah today, are the same people who stood with terrorist like Afzal Guru. It is unfortunate that certain people are standing by the side of a person who was responsible for the division of this country," Trivedi said.

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