M Hasan, Hindustan Times, Lucknow, June 26
STATE BJP and Samajwadi Party are in a dilemma over Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s poll-time announcement of Rs 500 per month to MISA detainees of the 1975 Emergency.
While BJP leaders said majority of the Emergency victims were from RSS and Jan Sangh, they were evasive about accepting the Samajwadi Party’s dole. The SP, in a damage control exercise, said the RSS men were in small numbers. The party doesn’t want to be seen financially helping the Sangh Parivar in the election year.
State BJP president Kesrinath Tripathi said nearly 80 per cent MISA detainees in UP during the Emergency were from RSS and Jan Sangh. But he was non-committal about the Sangh Parivar cadres accepting the money.
Asserting that the announcement was “election stunt” of the chief minister, Tripathi said he did not know whether RSS men would accept it. Another senior Sangh leader, Ram Kumar Agarwal, who was also detained under MISA, said a large number of RSS men were MISA victims.
He said the chief minister’s felicitation letters were welcome. This indicated that RSS men would take the money. Even though SP leader Ravidas Mehrotra, who had organised today’s programme, said MISA detainees connected with the RSS were present at the conference, he said their number was not much. He said the announcement would benefit a large number of members of Jamiat Islami, Sarvodayees, Arya Samajis and others. Mehrotra said more than 60 per cent beneficiaries were from the SP.
Of the nearly 5,000 MISA prisoners in the state, Mehrotra said that 2,200 had submitted their forms at the conference. The CM said all the victims, irrespective of their political affiliations, would get the benefit.
However, in a quick counter attack, the Congress said the chief minister had been implementing the BJP agenda. UPCC spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said the chief minister had accepted the long-pending demand of the RSS. He said the presence of NDA convenor George Fernandes at the function amply indicated that the chief minister was quite close to the BJP.
The BJP president, however, said that the party had been felicitating the MISA victims every year. He said Yadav had become chief minister in 1989, 1993 and 1995 also but he never bothered about these people. His sudden love for MISA detainees was with any eye on the election.
Meanwhile, there is a feeling in the BJP that it would not be able to restrain Sangh Parivar leaders from taking the money.