Unlike in Gujarat, justice will be done in Uttar Pradesh: SP chief

Defending his party government’s handling of the Muzaffarnagar communal violence, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday said a parallel should not be drawn with Godhra riots in Gujarat. Claiming that there was no justice [for riot victims] in Gujarat, he said, “Justice will be done in Uttar Pradesh. The guilty will be brought to book.”

He was responding to a question on Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh’s allegation that he was trying to become “U.P.’s Modi” in a bid to polarise votes.

“I have never played the politics of caste and religion. We will provide the maximum possible assistance to the victims and will take such strong action against those found guilty that they will never dare repeat it,” Mr. Yadav told journalists after the national executive meeting in Agra.

The Samajwadi supremo tried to play down the absence from the meeting of his senior colleague Azam Khan, who commented in Lucknow that the government did not act in time to contain the Muzaffarnagar clashes (which left more than 40 people dead and thousands displaced.) Mr. Yadav said: “Azam Khan can never be upset with me.”

When asked why Mr. Khan, who is Minister for Minority Affairs, was not attending the Cabinet meetings, Mr. Yadav said administrative matters should be addressed to his son, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was also on the dais. A grim-looking Chief Minister let the question pass.

Minutes ago, senior party leaders Ramgopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal had criticised Mr. Khan for staying away and said his absence made “no difference.” Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav brushed away the criticism and said Mr. Khan might have had some other engagement.

When repeatedly quizzed about Mr. Khan, the stalwart said the SP was a “democratic party” in which everybody had a right to voice their opinion.

Economic situation

The national executive adopted a resolution criticising the economic situation in the country, inflation, corruption and the situation on the international borders. While raising the issue of unemployment, it called upon people to stay vigilant against attempts to fan communal and casteist violence in the State in the run-up to 2014 general elections.