The phrase used by Muslims also appears to be an attack on Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh.
In a double-edged statement, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said that prior to his government’s formation in 2017, the ration meant for the poor would get ‘digested’ by those who utter ‘abba jaan’. This led to a reaction on social media as several users condemned the Chief Minister’s words accusing him of making communal references.
In several parts of the country, Muslims use the phrase ‘abba jaan’ to refer to their fathers or as an endearment. However, in the recent context in the State’s politics, it also appears to be an attack on Mr. Adityanath’s rival and president of the Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh.
Speaking at an official function in Kushinagar on Sunday, Mr. Adityanath while taking a swipe at the alleged ‘appeasement’ in previous governments, said that now the BJP did not look at anyone’s face before providing them benefits such as toilets or grains.
“Are you getting ration? Did you get this ration prior to 2017? Back then, those who say ‘abba jaan’ would digest all the ration. Kushinagar’s ration would end up in Nepal and Bangladesh. If today anyone tries to swallow the ration of the poor, that person will land in jail,” Mr. Adityanath said.
The Samajwadi Party ruled in Uttar Pradesh from 2012 to 2017. Recently, in an interview to a television channel, when asked about the work done in the State since 2017, Mr. Adityanath took a swipe at Mr. Yadav’s father and referred to the firing on the ‘kar sevaks’ in 1990 under his tenure, when the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was in peak, and the ongoing construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
“His ‘Abba jaan’ would say that he would not allow even a bird to fly [around the Babri Masjid enclosure],” Mr. Adityanath said, underlining the fact that the BJP had fulfilled its promise of building a Ram Mandir.
Reacting to the Chief Minister’s ‘abba jaan’ comments, Mr. Yadav had advised him to mind his language.
“We can have a fight on issues. But if you are saying something about my ‘pitaji’, then be prepared, I will say something about your father as well” Mr. Yadav had said.
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