Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav’s craving to get the country’s top job once again came to the fore on Tuesday, when prominent Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan openly called upon madrasas of the state to strive towards making the Samajwadi Party supremo the next prime minister.
Accompanied by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Khan was addressing a specially convened conference of principals and managers of hundreds of madrasas in Lucknow’s Indira Gandhi Pratishthan.
“Ek baar Dilli ka khazana haath aa jaye…inshaallah Uttar Pradesh ke khazane mein koyi kami naheen rah jayegi.”(Let the Delhi treasure come into his hands once; God willing, Uttar Pradesh will be showered with fortunes), he told the gathering .
Akhilesh was all smiles as the ruling party’s most visible Muslim face went about hailing the SP supremo as the only true messiah of the minority community. He went about impressing upon madrasa teachers to make common Muslims understand how much Mulayam and his party’s government had done for Muslims.
“Nobody has ever done as much for Muslims as the SP government, yet the media has never projected the government in true light before the minorities,” Khan sought to point out, while making it a point to paint the media as some kind of ‘villain’ in showing the present government in poor light.
Akhilesh too left no stone unturned to woo Muslims, who clearly form a substantial part of the party’s vote-bank.
“Bahut sari nayi-nayi yojnayein chalayi hain…aur yeh faisla bhi Samajwadi Party ne liya hai ki alpsankhyak aur khaskar Musalmaan bhaiyon ko yojnaon mein 20 per cent…jansankhya ke adhar par agar humein unko labh pahunchana padega to who bhi Samajwadi Party ne har sarkari yojna mein 20 percent ap ko labh pahunchane ka kaam shuru kar diya hai” (We have launched a number of special programmes for the welfare of Minorities in general and the Muslims in particular; the ruling party has also taken a decision to ensure that the benefit of all welfare schemes reaches the 20 per cent Muslim population across the state).
The meet was clearly aimed at sending a message to the Muslim community across the length and breadth of the state that their vote alone could turn Mulayam’s fortunes. Also, the leaders left no stone unturned to convey that none other than SP could fulfill the aspirations of Muslims.
The exercise was also prompted by the discredit that the Muzaffarnagar riots had brought to the SP. The fact the riots left Muslims at the receiving end has earned the SP much disillusionment of the community that was responsible for giving it the surge that brought it back to power with a clear majority.
Mulayam was banking his hopes to become prime minister in a post 2014 non-Congress and non-BJP scenario when a tally of anything beyond 35 seats could give him a chance to bargain for the top job. And heavy polarisation of the Muslim vote in favour of SP could well lend him the chance to fulfill his long-cherished dream.