Day after secular meet, Mulayam softens stand

Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday, a day after taking a pledge with 16 other outfits in Delhi to fight “communal forces”, said he would have no problem in dealing with the BJP if the party changed its stand on contentious issues concerning muslims.

He sought to remind “trouble mongers” in Muzaffarnagar about his order for opening fire on karsevaks in Ayodhya in 1990 to drive home the message that he knew how to “crush” them. Mulayam was then the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. “I can deal with the BJP if it changes its attitude toward muslims and drop contentious issues concerning the community,” Mulayam said while addressing a meeting of the party workers here.

Comparing himself to Arjuna, the famous character from Mahabharata, who on being enlightened by Lord Krishna fought and killed his near and dear ones in the battle, Mulayam said that he, too, was forced to order the police to open fire on the karsevaks.

Mulayam said: “I ordered the firing as it was my dharma (duty). I was bound by the Constitution. I do not want to use tougher measures against the trouble mongers. I want them to heed advice and stop creating trouble, else I will be forced to crush them. They do not know about the might of the government. They (rioters) are crossing all limits. We will not tolerate atrocities on weak people.”

Mulayam’s soft tone towards the BJP did not go down well with the muslim leaders of the party who felt that it could cost them dear in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
A few months ago, Mulayam’s meeting with the seers and his reported offer to mediate in the vexed Ram temple issue had made party leaders jittery.

“Mulayam Singh can play a crucial role in resolving the issue as his acceptance among the muslims is well known,” the VHP leaders, who were also at the meeting, had then said.

Seventeen parties, including the SP, had held a meeting in Delhi on Wednesday where their leaders had resolved to fight “communal forces” fueling possibilities of formation of a third front.

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