This Article is From Dec 01, 2014

BJP Lawmaker Forced to Leave Event in Aligarh After Row Over Jat Leader's Anniversary Celebrations

BJP Lawmaker Forced to Leave Event in Aligarh After Row Over Jat Leader's Anniversary Celebrations

Jat Mahasabha accused the BJP of trying to "hijack" an event to mark the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Raja Mahendra Pratap

Aligarh: The BJP's plans to celebrate the birth anniversary today of a freedom fighter and local royal in Aligarh ran into more hurdles when a party lawmaker was not allowed to speak on camera at an event organised on the occasion.

The organisers, the Jat Mahasabha, accused the BJP of trying to "hijack" the event," when the party's MP Satish Gautam attempted to speak on camera. He had to hastily leave the Raja Mahendra Pratap park, named for the Jat king who was being honoured.

"Political parties are misusing the name of Raja Mahendra Singh. It's not right to say that Raja Mahendra Singh has become a symbol for the BJP. He is a Raja and meant for all," said Vijender Singh, president of the Jat Mahasabha, upset that the BJP did not consult his organisation in its plans to celebrate the 138th birth anniversary of the Raja, who had donated land for the famous Aligarh Muslim University or AMU campus.

The BJP, which had initially planned celebrations at AMU, later agreed to hold its celebrations outside the campus, after the university Vice Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah wrote to Education Minister Smriti Irani. The vice chancellor promised to hold a seminar on the Raja separately at AMU instead.

The BJP's new plans today included cutting a cake at its Aligarh office and then moving to the park, just outside the university campus, to join the Jat Mahasabha celebrations.

Mr Gautam said this was not a climbdown. "It's not a small celebration. We are doing it at our BJP office. It's a big thing for us," he said.

In his sharply-worded letter to Smriti Irani, Gen Shah had sought that the local BJP unit's proposed rally for Raja Mahendra Pratap in the campus be stopped, warning of a potential "communal conflagration."

"The majority of AMU students are annoyed with this intransigence," he had told the minister.

The Vice Chancellor also expressed concern that the BJP's political rival, the Samajwadi Party which rules UP, had vowed to stop the event. "This political gamesmanship, if allowed to proceed, has potential for serious trouble," he wrote, asserting that "AMU does not want to get involved in politics."