Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recently said that before he came into power in 2017, only people saying “abba jaan” used to “digest” ration meant for the poor but under his administration everyone has benefitted equally from development. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s remarks and particularly his use of the term ‘abba jaan’ have been construed as communally-coloured by many. The word ‘abba jaan’ is an Urdu word used by many Muslims to refer to their fathers.

Adityanath’s comments have set off a political maelstrom with opposition parties slamming him for his divisive remarks. Meanwhile, many Indian Muslims, especially women have put up social media posts with their fathers with the hashtag Abbajan and Humare abbajaan in what seems to be a response to Yogi’s remarks.

Also Read | Kolkata flyover used in Yogi Adityanath's development ad, TMC mocks BJP

Yogi Adityanath was speaking at an event organised to inaugurate development projects at Kushinagar. Addressing those gathered, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister said that the construction of the Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi started only when the BJP came into power in the Centre ant the state. He asked the gathered audience if SP, BSP or Congress would have built the temple.

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Yogi Adityanath said that Prime Minister Modi has effectively changed the political agenda of the country. Development work before the BJP came into power was based on caste, faith, religion, language and family according to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

Also Read | Pegasus row: Why is the Centre not filing an affidavit in Supreme Court?

“Today, you are getting ration. Were you getting this ration before 2017? Because back then, those saying ‘abba jaan’ used to digest the ration. Back then, the ration meant for Kushinagar used to reach Nepal and Bangladesh. Today, if someone tries to swallow ration for the power, he will end up in jail,” Yogi Adityanath said.

In response, many put up pictures of their fathers and wrote about their contribution. The tweets can be read here: 

Opposition politicians from across the country have criticised Yogi Adityanath for his comment. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, "I've always maintained the BJP has no intention of fighting any election with an agenda other than blatant communalism & hatred...Here's a CM seeking re-election claiming Muslims ate up all the ration meant for Hindus."

Uttar Pradesh's Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said, "The language used by the UP chief minister tarnishes democracy, and it is aimed at dividing the society." Samajwadi Party (SP) MLC Asutosh Sinha said that the use of unparliamentary language does not suit chief minister.