New Delhi: Former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, who had to leave the party for his differences with Arvind Kejriwal, has locked horns with BJP national IT head Amit Malviya.

A Twitter spat ensued between the two leaders after Malviya embarrassed Yadav with a video posted on Twitter showing Yadav invoking his Muslim name ‘Salim’ in front of a large crowd in Muslim-dominated Mewat in Haryana in 2018.

The controversy, which spilled on to Twitter, started after a television debate where the two leaders faced each other. Malviya had pointed that Yadav had used religion and caste for politics. Yadav, in turn, had claimed he would withdraw from public life if Malviya could produce a shred of evidence, video or audio, to that effect.

“When are you withdrawing from public life,” Malviya asked at the end of his Twitter post.  

While Yadav and his followers alleged that the video posted by Malviya was doctored and ‘edited’ to exclude the part where Yadav was talking about communal harmony, Malviya hit back by posting the entire clip, accusing Yadav of trying to foment hatred against RSS and among communities.

“I had made a limited point that Yadav used his Muslim identity for furthering his politics. I posted the video that clearly shows him pandering to a Muslim crowd by invoking the Muslim part of his identity. It was not doctored at all. In the full clip, Yadav can once more be seen invoking his name as Salim. He uses the lingo of secularism to couch the political use of his other name Salim,” Malviya said.

“Moreover, he is also heard spreading hate against the RSS and dividing communities. How does he explain that?” Malviya added.

The video that Malviya posted is from a mahapanchayat from 2018 when Yadav addressed a largely Muslim gathering in the aftermath of the killing of Rakbar Khan allegedly by cow vigilantes.

Yadav can be heard telling the crowd how his grandfather was killed by a Muslim crowd in 1936 riots and how his father, only seven-years-old when he witnessed the crime, later chose to give his children Muslim names.

“We should not return hatred with hatred. My grandfather was killed in Hindu-Muslim riots in 1936 when he was killed by a Muslim crowd with an axe in Hissar. My father, seven when he saw this happening, if he wanted could hate Muslims all his life; he could have become RSS; would have been a common thing. But, he chose not to become either a Hindu or Muslim, rather a human being. And he decided to give Muslim names to his children and it is how I came to be called Salim as is told these days. Yadav had said.

Meanwhile, Yadav had indeed flaunted his Muslim name in several interviews given to a variety of news publications in the run up to the 2014 general elections when he was contesting from Haryana as AAP candidate. He had claimed that he was called Salim and one of his sisters called Najma, names given by their father as a “secular response” to the murder of his grandfather. His name was changed to Yogendra when he was five under “societal pressure” he had said.