By Jai Prakash Ojha:
Dear Mulayam Singh ji,
The Saifai Mahotsav has already begun. You have rightly argued that there is nothing wrong in organizing the festival as it provides an opportunity to the rural people to enjoy music and dance. It provides glimpses into the rural culture and serves as a reminder to the people of the unparalleled heights attained by this ancestral village of Mulayam Singh in the field of arts, culture and crafts during the Mughal rule. But then, there are many people who believe that the Saifai extravaganza is held to showcase the political hegemony of the Yadav clan in this western part of Uttar Pradesh.
Though the budget approved for this year celebrations is just 1 crore, considering the kind of attendances that are likely to take place, no sane person is going to believe that this paltry amount will serve the purpose. Despite the focus on good governance and development, it is a pity that a major chunk of the political top brass of the Samajwadi Party and high ranking state bureaucrats will be supervising the Mahotsav affairs, oblivious of the pressing concerns of the common citizenry. Just rewind your memory. Wasn’t the last edition of the festival marred by the Muzzaffarnagar incident? The hapless people and children shivered in intense cold in the camps without basic amenities with the death toll around 60. The camps were set up to provide relief to victims of Muzzaffarnagar riots who had fled away from their homes. It was akin to the Roman emperor Nero playing the fiddle when Rome burnt. But then, there was no democracy in Rome at that time. For any publicly elected leader, insensitivity to the electorate is a crime and that too, when the electorate is suffering.
Mulayam ji, your secular credentials nosedived at that time resulting in the decimation of your party at the hands of a resurgent BJP in the Lok Sabha Elections 2014. It was inexplicable for a party to suffer such electoral reverses which was in power at the state. The Hindutva has resurfaced once again in the state, things are not looking so bright for your party and it will be better if you devote attention to governance in the state. Isn’t it a fact that the state has witnessed sharp polarization on religious lines and witnessed a conflagration in communal incidents? Who can turn a blind eye to acrimonious conversions taking place under your nose? The minorities are petrified. Too much harping on ‘love jihad’ on the part of the Hindu right-wing has already vitiated the atmosphere with your own ministers getting into a verbal duel with the saffron camp. Law and order continues to be a problem with your supporters and leaders riding the Mandal horse to trample down the dalit aspirations. There is another bad news for you. The AIMIM is planning to contest elections in UP in the 2017 Assembly Elections and calling your love for minorities as a mere façade and eye wash. If that happens, even a mere 2-3 percentage dent in your Muslim vote bank, would jeopardize your political career.
You are one of the leading socialist leaders of our country and a worthy disciple of Lohia. You have espoused the cause of the backwards and the marginalized. To hold such a gala event with huge expenditure in a state where around 30 percent of the population is below the poverty line and more than 40 percent of the children are malnourished is simply atrocious for any democratically elected leader. The Human Development Indices are abysmally low and education and healthcare have not reached the masses properly.
Well, for the moment; I wish you all the best for the Saifai extravaganza. May your political health remain intact?!