From being the single dominant party in India to its pathetic performance in literally all state and national elections, the Congress party has been on a steady downhill trajectory. Despite chances being bleak, the only election in which Congress hopes to redeem itself in the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in 2022. For this, the party has once again decided to go back to playing its favourite minority appeasement card.
In an attempt to garner minority votes in the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Congress has tried to capitalise on the popularity of Uttar Pradesh’s Urdu poet-turned-politician Mohd Imran Khan aka Imran ‘Pratapgarhi’ amongst Muslims. On June 3, Congress president Sonia Gandhi appointed Imran Pratapgarhi as chairman of the party’s minority department. He has replaced Nadeem Javed, another young leader from Uttar Pradesh.
Although believed to be in the good books of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Pratapgarhi’s appointment has reportedly generated unease in the party, with many senior leaders expressing concern. Most were of the opinion that Patrapgarhi’s popularity should rather have been used in campaigning and that an experienced hand was required to head the organisation.
As per a TOI report, president All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat and Secretary South Asian Council for Minorities Navaid Hamid also expressed shock at the Congress party’s decision. Hamid opined that Pratapgarhi’s appointment reaffirmed the perception that Congress required a “shayar” to “lure” the Muslims, rather than a mature political leader who could advocate for their rights and express their concerns.
Pratapgarhi had joined the Congress in 2019 and unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary elections from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. He had lost the seat to ST Hasan of the Samajwadi Party. He reportedly became a Priyanka Gandhi Vadra favourite once she started paying attention to Uttar Pradesh, Pratapgarhi’s home state.
It is pertinent to note that the Congress’ ‘blue-eyed boy’ has a long list of problematic statements that he has made in the past. Recently, Shehzad Poonawalla, in a series of Tweets shared snippets of old videos where the poet and Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi can be seen provoking Muslims of all ages to wage a war against India.
Thread important— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) June 17, 2021
Before UP Polls Rahul & Priyanka’s choice to openly polarise Muslim voters?
Imran Pratapgarhi handpicked by Gandhis to lead Congress’ Minority Cell ..
Hear how he incites Muslims to kill 4-6 People to avenge Lynching!
Does @INCIndia endorse? 1/n pic.twitter.com/7u8zkOYRyf
‘Kill at least 4-6 people to avenge the death of our people’: Imran Pratapgarhi heard inciting Muslims against India
In the video, presumably from 2019, Imran Pratapgarhi can be seen exhorting Muslims to kill at least 4-6 people to avenge the death of their people. He incites his Muslim followers saying that “It is not acceptable to die in a cowardly manner. To avenge lynching, kill at least 4 to 6 people before you die.”
The Congress leader cheers and encourages children to shout Azadi slogans
In another video, he is seen encouraging young children to chant “Jo Hitler ki chaal chalega, woh Hitler ki maut marega”, one of the ‘Azadi’ slogans, which had became a regular feature during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. In the video, presumably shot during anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh, the Congress ‘poet’, unfettered by the vitriol the children’s impressionable minds were being exposed to, goes on to exhort children to loudly repeat the hateful slogans after him.
Here at CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) June 17, 2021
Remember the infamous “Jo Hitler ki chaal chalega woh Hitler Ki maut marega “ slogan for @narendramodi by small children
Imran exhorting young children to say it ((was Congress’ 2019 candidate from Moradabad))
Does @INCIndia endorse?2/n pic.twitter.com/iL7oSnE8kh
Imran Pratapgarhi instigates the Kashmiri Muslims
In another video shared in the same thread of Tweets by Shehzad Poonawalla, Imran Pratapgarhi is heard instigating the Kashmiri Muslims by projecting a grim situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Toeing the line of Pakistani propaganda, the now Congress’ minority department head, claims of torture and excessive force is being used by armed forces against Kashmiris. He says “waha zulm isliye kyuki zyada tadad musalmanon ki hai” (Atrocities are inflicted since the majority population in Kashmir are Muslims).
Now hear Imran Pratapgarhi on Kashmir— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) June 17, 2021
He says “waha zulm isliye kyuki zyada tadad musalmanon ki hai”
Hear the excerpt : Blaming Indian state & echoing a line Pakistan would love just like Digvijaya Singh’s 370 Clubhouse chat?@INCIndia & Rahul, Priyanka endorse? 3/n pic.twitter.com/dDuShXO9fV
In yet another video, shared in the same thread, the Congress leader, disturbingly, is heard blaming India and the Indian forces for the Islamic terrorists attack in Pulwama. Much in the lines of the Gandhi-scion Rahul Gandhi, who had insinuated that the Pakistan sponsored attack was an ‘inside’ job to benefit BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the newly appointed chief of the party’s minority department said: “kaatil ghar ke aangan tak aa pahuncha hai. Rakhwale ki saazish bhi ho sakti hai” (the killers reached are homes, might be a political conspiracy by those who are responsible for safeguarding India).
This is the same line adapted by Pakistan to shrug off involvement in the terrorist attack.
Most explosive statement by Imran Pratapgarhi— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) June 17, 2021
Blames India & Indian forces for Pulwama at a Mushaira held post Pulwama
Says : kaatil ghar ke aangan tak aa pahuncha hai
Rakhwale ki saazish bhi ho sakti hai
Does @INCIndia endorse this pick by Rahul & Priyanka? 8/n pic.twitter.com/WgAEBTCimw
Pratapgarhi exhorts Muslims to capture positions in the bureaucracy and civil services to help their community
In September last year, a 2017 video of him exhorting the Muslims to capture positions in the bureaucracy and civil services to help their community, had also gone viral on Twitter. Issuing a clarion call to the Muslims to capture the civil services, Pratapgarhi said: “You can teach your children engineering, you can teach them to become doctors, you can also raise them to become successful businessmen, a billionaire, this would undoubtedly benefit you personally, but if you want to help your generations, there is no other way but by capturing the bureaucracy and the civil services. Take power in your hand,” he said.
Congress leader and his role in the violent anti-CAA demonstrations in Moradabad
For the uninitiated, Pratapgarhi had been involved in the violent protests that had racked Moradabad Idgah in the aftermath of the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019. The Moradabad District Administration in February 2020 had sent a notice of fine of Rs 1 crore 4 lakh and 8 thousand to Imran Pratapgarhi for being involved in demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and violating Section 144.
Imran Pratapgarhi booked for asking ‘why no Shaheen Bagh in Hyderabad’
Pratapgarhi had also made provocative remarks in Hyderabad last year. He was booked by the police for his remark asking why there was no Shaheen Bagh in Hyderabad, referring to the enclave that had come up in the national capital to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“I am shocked to see that there is no Shaheen Bagh in Hyderabad,” Imran Pratapgarhi had reportedly said, which the police claimed was provocative and could have deteriorated the law and order situation in the city.