Election 2019

Why Jinnah is on the mind of BJP’s newly-elected Aligarh MP

The newly-elected BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh constituency, Satish Kumar Gautam listed his ‘first priority’ on Friday, a day after his party swept to power scooping up 303 Lok Sabha seats.

“My first priority will be to send Jinnah’s portrait that is locked in a room in Aligarh Muslim University to Pakistan,” he said, according to news agency ANI.

The BJP, despite the arithmetic advantage of the SP-BSP ‘mahagatbandhan’ won 64 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats, demolishing the alliance partners, which got 15 seats between them. The Congress won the lone Rae Bareli seat of Sonia Gandhi in the politically crucial state that sends the highest number of MPs to the Lower House.

Gautam had raked up the Jinnah portrait issue last year too asking the Aligarh Muslim University to explain why it displays a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

In a letter written to vice chancellor Tariq Mansoor, the Aligarh MP objected to the Pakistan founder’s picture on the walls of the AMU student union office.

AMU defended the portrait, apparently hanging there for decades, saying that Jinnah was a founder member of the University Court and granted life membership of the student union.

The university again courted controversy in October 2018 when it displayed photographs of Mohammad Ali Jinnah as part of an exhibition marking Gandhi Jayanti. The university administration later served a show cause notice to the librarian for displaying the photographs.