Irked by Uddhav’s Babri remark, SP leader asks Muslim ministers to quit

SP's Abu Azmi also raised issues related to CAA-NRC and promises of reservation for Muslims in jobs

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Uddhav Thackeray had on Wednesday raked up the Babri issue in Legislative Assembly | File Photo: PTI

Maharashtra’s Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi on Thursday objected to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s comment on the Babri Masjid demolition and asked Muslim ministers to resign in protest against the statement.

Thackeray had on Wednesday raked up the Babri issue in Legislative Assembly, recalling when the late Shiv Sena found Bal Thackeray had owned up the responsibility for Babri demolition and had said he would be proud of his ‘Shiv Sainiks’ if they had done it.

The statement triggered strong displeasure among Samajwadi Party, which supports the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the assembly, with Azmi saying Thackeray has forgotten that he is also the state’s chief minister alongside being the chief of Shiv Sena.

Speaking to reporters outside Vidhan Bhavan, Azmi also slammed the Congress and NCP, saying that these parties had earlier talked about giving five per cent quota to Muslims in jobs and education, but it has not happened.

He said that at least ministers from the Muslim community should feel ashamed and resign over Thackeray’s remarks and the quota issue. The Samajwadi Party leader said that the MVA government was formed to “stop the BJP” from attaining power and the Congress and the NCP had supported it based on the common minimum programme (CMP).

“Uddhav ji forgot he is a chief minister. When the Supreme Court wrote the judgement, it had said that installing idol inside the Babri Mosque and bringing down parts of the mosque were both criminal activities. So, I think it’s very disappointing that a chief minister accepts criminal activity in the House,” Azmi said.

The government was formed on the basis of CMP, but it is now talking about “temples and mosques”, he said, asking the Congress and NCP leaders to think what is to be done now.

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“The chief minister had said that the CAA and the NRC will not be implemented in the state. The Congress and the NCP earlier said Muslims should get five per cent reservation. Now you (Congress and NCP) are in power. At least, Muslims ministers should feel a bit ashamed and resign on these issues,” he said.

Asked if the ministers concerned should resign on the issue of Thackeray’s speech or some other, Azmi said, “They should resign on the issues of the speech, the CAA-NRC and the reservation. He had said he is running a secular government… This cannot be the role of a secular government, which is happening now.”

Former Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam also expressed his disapproval over Thackeray’s statement. He accused Thackeray of “celebrating” the demolition of the mosque in the House and alleged that Congress and NCP MLAs “enjoyed” the speech.

“Which common minimum programme it (the speech) is part of?” Nirupam asked on Twitter.

What did Uddhav say in Assembly?

While speaking in the Assembly on Wednesday, Thackeray had attacked BJP on the issue of Hindutva. He had said that BJP keeps taking name of Bal Thackeray and asked the party to remember the latter’s Hindutva. Targeting the BJP, he said Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva was not of “shendi (tuft of hair) and janeu (sacred thread Brahmins wear).”

He had further said, “…when the Babri Masjid was brought down, the ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ had run away, but Balasaheb stood (firm on this position).” “…the Shiv Sena chief (Bal Thackeray) had then said that he was proud if his Shiv Sainiks brought down parts of the
mosque,” the chief minister had said.