UP minister Swami Prasad Maurya refers to Jinnah as ‘mahapurush’, BJP MP wants him out

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New Delhi | Published: May 2, 2018 4:29:37 PM

A major controversy erupted yesterday when BJP MP from Aligarh Satish Gautam sought an explanation from the AMU over the display of Jinnah's portrait in the student's union office of the university.

Swami Prasad Maurya, BJP, AMU, Jinnah portrait, Jinnah portrait row, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Satish Gautam, Harnath Singh, Aligarh, Aligarh Muslim UniversityUP minister Swami Prasad Maurya refers to Jinnah as ‘mahapurush’, BJP MP wants him out

The outrage over Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait at the student union’s hall in the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has take a fresh turn with BJP leaders appearing to be divided into two factions. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Harnath Singh has demanded an apology from Uttar Pradesh minister Swami Prasad Maurya for his remark in the ongoing row. Singh even said that he should be shown the door if he refuses to apologise.

A major controversy erupted yesterday when BJP MP from Aligarh Satish Gautam sought an explanation from the AMU over the display of Jinnah’s portrait in the student’s union office of the university. In a letter to the Vice Chancellor, Satish wrote asking him about the compulsion behind this move, only to be countered by Maurya.

“Jin bhi mahapurushon ka yogdan is rashtra ke nirman mein raha hai… yadi unpar koi ungli uthata hai to bahut ghatiya baat hai (It is shameful for anyone to point a finger on great leaders who contributed towards nation-building),” he said in an apparent reference to Satish. Maurya said that Jinnah had contributed towards building India before partition in 1947.

“By calling Jinnah a great person, Uttar Pradesh Minister Swami Prasad Maurya has glorified him. I condemn this. Maurya should apologise, else he be terminated from the party,” BJP MP Harnath Singh said, adding that the display of Jinnah’s picture within the AMU premises is an offence. He said that AMU has been “a hub for orchestrating anti-national activities” since long. He said that strict action should be taken against the university management and people involved in this.

This is not the first time when a BJP leader’s remark on Jinnah has stoked an uproar. In 2005, when BJP leader and former deputy PM LK Advani had visited Pakistan in the capacity of party’s president, he had referred to Jinnah as a ‘secular’ man. His remark triggered a controversy in India, forcing him to step down from the post of national president of the BJP.

Meanwhile, the AMU said in its defence that Jinnah’s portrait was installed in 1938, much before the formation of Pakistan. According to the university, he was also honoured with a life-time membership of the student union before Pakistan’s formation in 1947. Jinnah had played a key role at the time of partition in 1947. The Aligarh Muslim University was founded in 1885.

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