When Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav courted a controversy on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary
by acknowledging Jinnah’s contribution to India’s Independence, he brought the Pakistan founder at
the centre of election discourse in the state. Now, an official party newsletter has skipped any
mention of Jinnah while recounting the proceedings of that day, and said the former chief minister is
committed to making an India of the dreams of Sardar Patel.
“Yadav said we cannot forget the contribution of Patel to the freedom struggle and he brought various states into
the Indian union, including the historic work of joining in Junagarh and Hyderabad,” says the newsletter released
for November, while recounting the public meeting Yadav held in Hardoi on October 31. There is no mention of
the reference Yadav made to Jinnah that day, when he had purportedly said Jinnah was also part of the freedom
struggle like Patel.
Rajendra Chaudhary, SP national general secretary, and a close aide of Yadav, has penned a piece in the latest
newsletter on Sardar Patel, saying Yadav has a deep belief in the principles of India’s freedom struggle. “To make
India of the dreams of the Iron Man (Sardar Patel), Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav is committed and
devoted to making politics in the favour of the people with full honesty and loyalty,” Chaudhary wrote.
Top BJP leaders have been attacking Yadav for a month now, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying in
Azamgarh that Yadav had “started finding Jinnah to be a great person as elections come near,” and said Samajwadi
Party stood for JAM — ‘Jinnah, Azam Khan and Mukhtar Ansari’.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said people would never forgive Yadav for putting Jinnah on the same
pedestal as Patel and said Jinnah was seen as a villain for the country’s partition.
Chaudhary in his piece in the SP newsletter said everyone should take a vow to keep the ideals of Sardar Patel
alive and strengthen the country’s unity, integrity and communal harmony. “SP has always been committed to
take forward the direction showed by India’s freedom heroes. Samajwadis have had a very close relation to the
freedom struggle. Socialists played an active role in the 1942 August Kranti and Quit India movement. Dr Ram
Manohar Lohia considered the August Kranti as very important,” Chaudhary wrote.
Chaudhary further drew a comparison between how Sardar Patel had fought for the welfare of the farmers before
Independence in 1918 in Kheda in Gujarat and 1928 in Bardoli in Gujarat, and how Akhilesh Yadav was doing the
same in Uttar Pradesh. “Farmers in UP are together to support Samajwadi Party policies and all believe in Yadav. A
government in UP under Akhilesh Yadav is very important to bring smiles on the faces of farmers in the state,”
Chaudhary has written.