As Samajwadi Party's five year term in Uttar Pradesh comes to an end, I feel compelled to write you this letter, especially, in wake of the Assembly poll results.
Every citizen has hopes from the government and leaders. I too have such expectations and hence I felt that I should communicate my thoughts to you.
Five years ago, in 2012, your party had got overwhelming support from different sections of the society. Like other communities, Muslims had also voted for your party in a big way.
After SP won, the party didn't pay much attention to most of the promises made in the manifesto. The party had promised better representation to Muslims in police apart from reservation in jobs and opening Urdu schools, educational institutions in areas with Muslim population and action in case of youths framed in false cases.
One doesn't expect every promise to be fulfilled but there is always the hope that at least some attention will be paid to what was mentioned in the manifesto. Sadly, this didn't happen.
What came as a big disappointment was the handling of Muzaffarnagar riots. If, at all, top government functionaries had reached the spot immediately, got local administration to act tough and given call for Army promptly, the violence may have been controlled in the beginning.
It was the worst communal conflagration in this decade in the entire country and made thousands of people refugees on their own land. No other state, with the exception of Assam (where Congress was in power then during Kokrajhar killings) had witnessed such scale of killings and displacement in recent years.
I feel that even after the riot, due steps that could have helped people gain confidence, were not taken. People remained in camps through the harsh winter. Financial compensation can never be substitute for human lives, their sufferings.
Besides, there wasn't seriousness in ensuring justice for women who faced sexual violence during the Muzaffarnagar riot. I do not doubt your intentions for development. But the failure to control law-and-order and inability to rein in rabble-rousers was evident.
How could things turn communal every now and then? How could Dadri happen? The government had a full majority and yet the administration wasn't able to deal with communal elements sternly. If there is will, there can't be a riot. Strong governments don't allow riots and don't let incidents to take communal turn easily.
Many of my friends who are supporters of Samajwadi Party or are close to it, put blame on the 'rivals' for propaganda and for creating communal disturbances. They kept saying that things were given communal turn to pit communities against each other.
But that's what one expects a strong government to do--to deal with such elements in a strong way. I do remember an instance when a riot had begun and immediately the DM-SP were changed (new officers sent by helicopter). That was well over a decade ago.
Now kindly play a strong, constructive opposition
Now that your party is in the Opposition, I hope the experience during the last five years, will help you a lot.
We hope that the party that prides itself on principles of social justice, will take up issues of the ordinary people, the poor and backward communities in the state, work on the ground and ensure that there is no communal violence.
Your party has several MPs and scores of MLAs. SP has a strong organisation up to village level in every corner of Uttar Pradesh. I hope your party workers and leaders will join hands with common men, help raise their voice and redress their grievances.
An active opposition can do wonders in a democracy. I wish a party like SP could form communal harmony morchas that would take this message to people and ensure that harmony prevails.
Besides, I hope SP will be keeping eye on implementation of schemes and raising issues that affect people--health, education, employment opportunities and corruption. However, I wish your government had at least amended the Congress-era discriminatory law that bars Urdu as medium of instruction in UP schools.
If only you had taken this step, you would have taken a step which we would never have forgotten. Elections come and go. Lok Sabha elections aren't too far, barely two years from now. However, the issues remain and we do expect our leaders to come up with solutions.
As an Indian citizen with roots in Uttar Pradesh (hailing from Lucknow), I thought I would share my concerns. Hope you would take them positively. After all, your party plays the role of the main opposition in UP Assembly, now.
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi