Gargi Parsai

`It is wrong to target the Muslim community for every act of terror'

RAMPUR: Samajwadi Party president and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh Yadav virtually kicked off his election campaign at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University here by seeking people's support after reminding them of the various doles he had disbursed in the last six months. Assembly elections are to be held in the State before March next year.

"While I am targeting poverty, unemployment, corruption, education of girl-child and health-care, all political parties, with the exception of the Communist Party of India, are targeting me," he said, referring to the income tax public interest litigation against him in the Supreme Court filed allegedly at the behest of the Congress party.

Mr. Yadav said no matter how many parties including the Congress "conspired" against him, "people's power" was his biggest strength and that would return him to power. "National parties like the Congress and the BJP that had given false slogans and made hollow promises to people have fallen by the wayside."

Focusing on the pre-dominant Muslim gathering at the proposed university ground on the outskirts of the city, he said it was wrong to target the Muslim community for every act of terror in the country. "The unity of the country should be paramount."

He claimed that a book that had come out recently linked him with terrorists only because during his previous tenure as Chief Minister, he had opposed attempts by central agencies to take away some students from the Nadwa College in Lucknow for "questioning" after a shooting incident. "In fact when there were terrorist attacks on Amarnath pilgrims, the Red Fort and Parliament, I was the one who advised the then Prime Minister to attack terrorist training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. You cannot be in public life if you are scared for your life," he said.

Referring to the massive-scale recruiting recently in the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), he said he had admitted 14.6 per cent Muslims as against two per cent earlier. He said his act of giving two saris to poor women and giving Rs 20,000 to every girl that passed 12th standard was meant to wipe tears from every eye.