Congress has been accused of following many faulty policies and practices during the past few years, but never have they faced accusations of doing “Hindu appeasement”. However, this is the charge they face now, and it comes from one of their own leaders, Bhopal MLA Arif Masood.
When Kamal Nath ordered Congress workers in Madhya Pradesh to celebrate the Hindu festivals of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti, Arif Masood embarrassed the party by criticizing this decision openly. Masood questioned why the party is not issuing such orders for festivals from other religions and said that this is against the “secular’ nature of the party.
Who is Arif Masood
One of only 2 Muslim MLAs in the Madhya Pradesh assembly, Arif Masood is a member of the legislative assembly from Bhopal Madhya seat in Madhya Pradesh. After starting his career in Congress party, Masood switched to Samajwadi Party in 2003. However, he returned to Congress after 2007 and started working in the party’s minority cell.
A troubled history with Congress leadership
This is not the first time that Arif Masood has embarrassed Madhya Pradesh Congress leadership in public. He has had a history of speaking or acting in ways that have left the party red-faced on multiple occasions.
In 2001, as district president of the Youth Congress, Arif Masood led a mob and attacked a cinema hall screening Gadar- Ek Prem Katha. A police constable was grievously injured and dozens received minor wounds. Subsequently, he was expelled from the party as the violence in the state reflected extremely poorly on the Digvijay Singh-led Congress government of the time.
Even after returning to the Congress fold, Masood did not stop going against the leadership’s decisions. When the law against Triple Talaq was under discussion, senior Congress leaders avoided taking an open stand in favour of Triple Talaq, Masood was very vocal in his support for the practice.
Masood was back at it again in 2019, now as an elected MLA from Bhopal Central. When then-Chief Minister Kamal Nath laid the foundation stone of the Bhopal Metro and announced that it will be named after Raja Bhoj, Masood asked Kamal Nath from the same stage to let it remain Bhopal Metro.
Protests against French President Macron
In the aftermath of the Samuel Paty beheading, French President Emmanuel Macron cracked down on the radical elements in France. However, his actions were termed against Muslims and there were large protests against Macron in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and some parts of India. One such protest was in Bhopal and was led by Arif Masood.
Masood led a crowd of thousands to Bhopal’s historic Iqbal Maidan shouting slogans against France and President Macron.