New Delhi: With an eye on UP assembly
elections, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday launched a
broadside against the Congress for adopting "anti-Muslim
policies" and said in comparison, BJP was a "lesser evil" in
dealing with minorities in the state.
"Whenever BJP has ruled, Muslims have not been
exploited... despite a couple of communal riots, their
exploitation has been less," Yadav told a press conference
When asked whether he believed that the 2002 Gujarat
riots could be termed as "minor issue", Yadav clarified that
he was only referring to Uttar Pradesh and not the rest of
"They (BJP) have created problems in the country. The
Gujarat Chief Minister himself carried out (2002 post-Godhra)
riots as the party thought that it was the opportune moment to
target Muslims," Yadav alleged.
Asked why BJP was better than Congress in dealing with
minorities, the SP leader claimed that due to his party`s
strong base, the BJP was scared of exploiting minorities.
"But Congress is arrogant. It is not concerned about
our protests. But we will tackle it," he said.
In a statement issued after the press conference,
Yadav demanded booking Mumbai Police Crime Branch officials
who picked up Faiz Usmani, the brother of an Ahmedabad blast
accused Afzal Usmani, for murder.
Faiz was picked for questioning in connection with
the July 13 triple bombings from his residence and was later
rushed to hospital after he complained of uneasiness, where he
"They should be arrested immediately and the case
should be probed by a high powered team of human rights
commission," he said in the statement.
Virtually questioning the line of investigation of
Mumbai Police in serial blasts, Yadav said people of the city
were "not convinced" that real culprits have been arrested for
To support his charge against the Congress, the SP
leader referred to a report prepared by activist Harsh Mander
on the issue.
Quoting from the report, Yadav said Congress was
scared of using the term Muslim fearing BJP could exploit the
issue to snatch Hindu votes from that party.
He claimed that instead of disbursing funds to
Muslims, the Minorities Affairs Ministry works "as an
obstacle" in the process.
"Despite reports by several committees on the state of
Muslims, Congress governments have failed to implement them. I
demand the Prime Minister to provide more facilities to
Muslims. It will help you get more votes and I don`t mind
that," Yadav said.
Against the backdrop of Congress General Secretary
Rahul Gandhi supporting the cause of artisans, Yadav said his
party will also support any plan by the central government in
helping the community - most of them being Muslims - so that
they can earn more money by exporting their items.
When asked about Rahul Gandhi`s political plans for
UP, he said he was a youth with his own "style of
"How he works, you will come to know," he said
referring to the assembly elections due early next year. He
claimed that Congress leaders in UP were only limited to TV
debates and newspapers and were not present at the grassroots
Yadav ducked questions on the removal of Darul Uloom
Deoband`s Vice Chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi.
"It is their internal matter...," he said.