Lucknow: Contending that Akhilesh Yadav had squandered his mandate, prominent Shia cleric and scholar Maulana Kalbe Sadiq has called for a change of guard with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav replacing him as Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
Talking to reporters, Kalbe Sadiq, vice-president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said the time had come when Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav should take over the reins of the state, where Muslims comprise nearly 20 percent of its 200 million people.
"People are very unhappy and if the ruling establishment wants to arrest the downslide in its popularity, there is only one option... Mulayam Singh becoming the chief minister," he said, adding that his maturity might bring back some semblance of governance in the state.
Terming Akhilesh as not mature enough and "too young" for the hot seat, the Shia cleric said Mulayam Singh can keep him as his deputy.
"Mulayam Singh ke paas tajurba hai aur Akhilesh ke paas yuva shakti, ye dono milkar shayad cheezon ko sambhal sake (Mulayam has experience while Akhilesh has youth power, this combination might work for the state)," he said.
He expressed unhappiness over the way the state was being governed and the time had come to put development and peace on the frontline of governance.
He said Akhilesh had squandered the 2012 mandate in which he led the party to a majority.
Likening the situation between the SP and the people as that of a lover and his beloved where the former promises the moon to the girl but after marriage things turn sour, Kalbe Sadiq said the hopes that Akhilesh Yadav had kindled had indeed died premature.
"Satta paane ke liye aaj kal neta jaane kaise kaise vaade kar lete hain, karodon rupaya bahate hain aur satta mein aane ke baad sab kuch bhool jaate hain (Politicians make tall promises, spend crores of rupees and then forget them after election)," he quipped.
Kalbe Sadiq warned that Muslims were disgruntled and wanted peace, development and security like any other community. He also conceded that the recent Muzaffarnagar riots had rattled the minorities.
Referring to the rise of Bharatiya Janata Party`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, he said the minorities were not scared of the development, but added the Gujarat chief minister did not enjoy a "good image in the minds of most Indians".
"The past forces us to be cynical," he said but added in the same breath, that no one was untouchable in politics for him. The cleric had a few years back created a flutter by hosting then Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief K.C. Sudarshan.
"Discussions and talks were part of political discourse and my doors are open for everyone," he said while noting that the community was happy and content during the regime of prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"Atal ji ke daur mein Musalman khush aur mutmayeen the," Sadiq said.
He also disclosed that recently Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had called him for a discussion in New Delhi.
"Somebody arranged it and I met her out of courtesy," Kalbe Sadiq said. He added that during discussions, he told her that her party "was headed for tough times as people were very angry at various things including price rise, riots and lack of security."