In medical college name change, SP master stroke

Days after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav dropped the name of BSP founder Kanshiram from an under-construction medical college in Saharanpur and renamed it 'Sheikhul Hind Maulana Mahmood Hasan Medical College,' a few Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders termed it a ploy of the Samajwadi Party to alienate Muslims from Dalits.

BSP chief Mayawati continues to be silent while there have been guarded statements from some BSP leaders.

"We know it is a ploy of the SP government to alienate Muslims from Dalits. They want to instigate the two communities against each other," Munquad Ali, BSP's Rajya Sabha MP and coordinator for western region, said.

"They are not well-wishers of Muslims, else they should have built new projects for Muslims. Islam also does not permit any such project which affects the emotions of other communities," he said.

Munquad, however, did not comment if there will any agitation against the decision. "We have informed Behenji (Mayawati). We will follow her instructions," he said.

The BSP, however, would be stumped by the SP's political move that comes in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots.

In the western region, the BSP is dependent on Muslims for its survival. In 2009, the party had won Aligarh, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Sambhal all Muslim dominated Lok Sabha seats. Three of its MPs are Muslims. BSP's candidates finished second in Meerut and Bijnor, which, too, have a sizeable population of Muslims.

Any direct opposition will eat into BSP's Muslim votes, one of the reasons why the party has chosen to be silent on the issue.

Meanwhile, Muslims in the western region have welcomed the decision.

Local SP leaders distributed sweets. Former MLA and SP's candidate from Saharanpur Imran Masood termed its as a decision taken following public demand.

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