Kolkata: The induction of Babul Supriyo, Member of Parliament from Asansol into Trinamool Congress has not gone down well with the Muslim community of West Bengal.
The 50-year-old two-time Asansol MP was a junior minister (till July) in PM Modi cabinet
The singer-turned politician joining the ruling party is being considered as a big blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bengal and a significant gain for the TMC.
However, Muslim intellectuals based in Kolkata feel that TMC should not have taken Supriyo into the party fold since Supriyo was allegedly the instigator of the Asansol riots in which many innocent lives were lost in a city, which was known as a city of brotherhood. Asansol police had also slapped a case against the MP during the riots. Besides his role in the Asansol riots, there have been many incidents in which the former minister had used abusive languages against a Muslim youth and during his Jadavpur University visit.
Welcoming Babul Supriyo in TMC is uncalled for
“Mukul Roy and some other TMC leaders joining back the party after a brief stint with BJP are understandable. But welcoming Babul Supriyo into TMC is uncalled for,” reacted Mohammed Reyaz, assistant professor at Aliah University, Kolkata.
Reyaz, who also wrote several social media posts on the issue, claimed in one of his post, “Except embarrassing the BJP and taking revenge for trying to encourage defecation in the Trinamool Congress before the assembly polls, I do not think Babul Supriyo is bringing anything on the table for his new party.”
Reyaz questioned, “There are also murmurs that Babul Supriyo may resign and instead go to the Rajya Sabha on a TMC ticket. TMC has sent Jawhar Sircar and Sushmita Dev to the Upper House of Indian Parliament, what about Muslims, Bengali-speaking Muslims in particular? Why can’t one more Muslim be nominated to the Rajya Sabha?”
And added, “Muslims may feel uncomfortable with Babul Supriyo joining TMC, but they know they do not have many options.”
But Sabir Ahmed, social activist and educator caution the party, “If Mamata Banerjee and TMC are preparing for 2024 Lok Sabha polls then they should not ignore Muslims, which have always been the core voters of the party.”
Sabir also pointed out issues at the district level, “Besides joining of communal leaders, there are other issues, which are concerned for local Muslim TMC leaders. Wherever the party is making changes in district units, fewer Muslims are being inducted or given important responsibilities.”
Silence of Muslim TMC leaders
Significantly, when eNewsroom contacted a few Muslim TMC leaders to know their views on Supriyo joining TMC and Muslims feeling uncomfortable, Rajya Sabha MP Nadimul Haque and member of Lok Sabha Sajeda Ahmed both refused to comment.
However, an Asansol-based TMC youth leader said, “It is the party’s decision taken by senior leaders, so we can not do much. But, we feel that a person who created communal tension in Asansol, when is not be on the other side, we are hopeful of no such tension taking place in the future,” said Shahnawaz Khan, president, Asansol North Block II, Trinamool Youth Congress.
Politicians have no religion: Imam Asansol
Imdadullah Rashidi, Imam of a mosque in Asansol, whose 16-year-old son Sibtulla Rashidi was killed during the 2018 Asansol riots, told eNewsroom, “Let’s forget these things.” And mentioned, “Politicians have no religion, see how Nitish Kumar was earlier with Lalu Prasad Yadav and now against him.”
“But, if a person (Babul Supriyo) changes his ideology by joining a secular party, he should be given a chance,” he added.