How much Shiv-Sena (SS) - the rightwing party known for its
anti-Muslim politics, and the Congress love and respect Muslim
freedom fighters is well known. However, both the parties are
using Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's name to garner support in their
favour while campaigning for the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC)
The Shiv-Sena manifesto for the
Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) elections, in contrast to its
declared politics ever since its inception about 30 years ago, has
included renowned freedom fighter and the first Education Minister
of Independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's photo on the
What is more surprising is that
Maulana Azad's photo, printed on the front page of the Sena
manifesto, is included not with prominent freedom fighters
but with leaders and reformists like Dr BR Ambedkar, Maratha
warrior Shivaji, Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, Gautam Buddha, Jyotiba
Phule, Ahilyabai Holkar and others.
Though, the manifesto apart from
including Maulana Azad's photo does not mention any other thing
about this great, though ignored, Indian National leader, it is
trying to give a message to the voters of Malegaon - a town with
about 75% of Muslim population.
The election to the 80-member
Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) is scheduled for April 15,
and for the first time, the Sena has given party tickets to two
Not to be left behind, the Congress
- accused of deliberately and tactically ignoring the contribution
of Muslims in the Indian freedom struggle and in nation building
thereafter, has also used Maulana Azad's name in its party
manifesto - though a bit differently. The party has declared in its
manifesto that it would name the under-construction Malegaon
Corporation building after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
Political opponents, however, are
terming the Congress and Shiv Sena moves a poll stunt.
"If it is indeed the love of the
freedom fighters, why the Sena is opposing writing of the names of
the local freedom fighters on the memorial built in their honour?
Why the Congress despite being in power for so many years, did not
resolve this issue", Guddu, a Janata Dal (S) activist said while
talking to ummid.com.
However, there are others, who feel
that if Shiv Sena is softening its anti-Muslim stand, its good.
"It is possible that the Sena is
doing so out of political compulsion. But its a good and welcome
sign", said Ather Shazan, a student in a local college.