[The aftermath scene of Muslim reservation morcha taken out in Malegaon on October 7, 2016. (ummid.com photo)]
Mumbai/Malegaon: From designing t-shirts, caps and flags to chosing a girl-student to address the rally in the end, the organisers of Muslim Reservation Morcha in Malegaon, did everything in hand to mimic the Maratha Kranti Morcha on Friday. They, however, missed two important things and that actually provided political observers and social media users ample chance to poke fun and criticise the organisers.
"Unlike the Maratha Kranti Morcha which is strictly non-political, the Muslim Reservation Forum (MRF) from the day of its launch is led by local Congress MLA. Friday's so called silent march for reservation was also led by him and it was aimed at political mileage", Altaf Hussain posted in a local WhatsApp group.
"Reservation to sirf bahana hai. Corporation election asal nishana hai. (The local Congress MLA is using reservation as a plank to garner support in the coming civic election)", Ataur Rehman, another netizen, posted in the same group.
According to reports, organisers of the Maratha Kranti Morcha had strict warning for the politicians to keep distance from the morcha top brass in public. It was conveyed to them that they could be part of the morcha as an individual but not as leaders.
Muslim Reservation Morcha organisers are also receiving flak for tons of garbage they left behind, caring little to take up a cleanliness drive like the Maratha Morcha.
"In their march, Congress leaders tried to mimic at every stage the Maratha Kranti Morcha. But, why they didn't bother to run a cleanliness drive like Maratha morcha organisers who took special care to clean up the garbage after their rallies?" Imran Hasan, posed the question in his post.
Like the Muslim Reservation March in Malegaon, which was led by local Congress MLA Asif Shaikh, the one taken out on the same day in Mumbra was led by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Jitendra Awhad.
Interestingly, both the rallies were taken out a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called an all-party meeting to discuss Maratha reservation. According to sources, senior Congress and NCP leaders present in the meeting did not raise the demand of Muslim reservation even as the BJP vowed its commitment for Maratha reservation.
"Before leading Muslim Reservation March in Mumbra and Malegaon, Jitendra Awhad and Asif Shaikh should have questioned their leaders' silence in the all party meet. But, did they do so? No. Because hypocrisy is in the genes of Congress and NCP leaders", Aziz Ejaz, a local activist, said.
Questions are also raised over the inaction of Congress and NCP leaders when they were in power.
"The Congress and NCP had clear majority in the house when they were ruling the state. However, instead of passing a legislation on Muslim reservation and thus enacting a law, they waited for four and half years and brought in an ordinance just six months before the state polls. This clearly exposes them and shows their hypocrisy over Muslim issues", Ejaz said.
The Muslim reservation morcha organisers also received wrath of the critics for their advertisements published in local newspapers in which those participating in the morcha were advised to be watchful of thieves and take care of what they termed as 'costly' mobile phones.
"Does it mean, the Congress is party of thieves?", Hasan took a snapshot, encircled the said instruction in red and posted with the caption.
The other angle being discussed in Malegaon is that there is unrest in the Congress party ever since former minister Arif Nasim Khan has been made incharge of the campaign the Congress party is reportedly planning to start for Muslim reservation.
Critics accuse Arif Naseem Khan of not only inaction over Muslim reservation but also of deliberately creating hurdles in many projects including establishment of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) off campus centre in Maharashtra, construction of Urdu Ghar and approval of ITIs and Polytechnics for minorities.