By Faisal Fareed, TwoCircles.net
Hummer is a car that dwarfs every other automobile bar the trucks, and is priced at over Rs 1 crore. This explains why SP Candidate from Kanpur Cantonment, Atiq Khan made his way to his rally in a Hummer, no less. Like Khan, a Hummer too makes his presence felt, and with a special number plate-786, and his followers keeping pace with him in over 250 other, ‘normal’ luxury cars: BMW, Mercedes, Fords etc, he surely made a loud, pompous entry in the city on Thursday.
And despite requests to not carry firearms, many armed men were spotted but they remain inside the car.
The Rama Devi crossing, which is the entry point in Kanpur city, was decked up like a bride by Atiq’s supporters. Atiq arrived in style at 3:55 pm in Kanpur, where a number of his supporters wanted to catch a glimpse of this leader. And keeping in tune with his style, the roof of his Hummer vehicle opened up and Atiq emerged, waving to the crowd. His caravan had 250 vehicles while the local administration was expecting only 100 vehicles. It took nearly two and half hours to cross Rama Devi crossing where he was felicitated by his supporters. Due to the heavy rush, police had stopped traffic on Lucknow-Kanpur Highway and there was a serpentine queue of vehicles.
He was scheduled to address the meeting at Babupurwa at 6 pm but he reached there at 9 pm while a huge crowd waited for him. Seeing the turnout, Atiq too remained focussed on Muslim votes. But he had the apprehension of splitting in Muslim votes as BSP too has fielded a Muslim candidate from the same seat. Atiq mentioned it in his speech—RSS works silently while our people make lot of noise and on the day of polling they take rest after having Nihari and Biryani. We should realise that our vote should not get divided.
He also raised the issue of triple talaq and Muslim personal law stating that these issues hardly affect anyone else. He also invoked Allama Iqbal and claimed that government should not interfere in these issues.
Atiq also targeted Congress by stating that Muslims used to vote for them just after seeing the photographs of Indira Gandhi offering chadar at Ajmer Dargah. On BSP he said that it has diverted from its path after Kanshiram.
But amidst such paraphernalia, Atiq remains apprehensive about his ticket being changed. He claimed that if under pressure from media his ticket is cancelled then also he is not worried and he will make his own ticket.
Atiq also visited the house of SP MLA Irfan Solanki and claimed that he had role in the alleged assault at the Shiats institute in Allahabad. He claimed that when court and election commission are not stopping him from contesting polls why are others worried. He batted for SP claiming that it is coming to power again.
But as was expected, such brazen display of flashing cars had its own set of issue. Even as Atiq accommodated local SP leaders and city president of SP Fazal Mahmood in his car, at two places-Begum Purwa and Rail Bazar, SP workers had a scuffle among themselves over showing their faces to Atiq.
As he had appealed earlier, Atiq had deposited Rs 10,000 each at two toll plazas which are between Kanpur and Allahabad. He also had assured the toll plaza staff that any balance due will be paid immediately.