Clarifying her allegedly controversial remarks that Muslims should become “communal” rather than secular, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Shazia Ilmi said on Thursday that she had made a sarcastic comment which meant “think about the community”.
“There is a difference between ‘communal’ and ‘sectarian’. There is also a diffrence between ‘communal’ and ‘communalism’,” Ilmi said, addressing a press conference.
While releasing a pocket manifesto for AAP’s Ahmedabad East candidate Dinesh Waghela, Ilmi said her remarks were “sarcastic” and she merely solicited votes for Arvind Kejriwal and Meera Sanyal who are not Muslims. She said that she had referred to the etymology of the word ‘communal’ from the dictionary and said that the word basically originated from “commune” which means “community”.
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“I used to tell people in the den of the RSS, that you must think about yourself and your community. What will happen to you if Modi becomes PM. It’s the same thing I said in Amethi. If Rahul becomes PM or gets any other post, what will happen to you? I often asked them to think about their community,” Ilmi said.
She said that a particular community had been threatened and kept in fear by major political parties. “There is a community. They are being threatened. BJP is threatening and creating a fake wave to get the votes. There is another party which says that if they do not vote in that party’s favour, then another party will come into power,” Ilmi said, adding that especially minorities are kept in fear.
Answering a query about Modi’s development claims, Ilmi said, “There is something wrong in his development claims. He could not answer us. That is why he went to Banaras (Varanasi). He made Amit Shah UP’s election in-charge. If he was so sure of victory from there then why he had also chosen Vadodara?”
Clubbing Modi’s campaign with BJP’s 2004 infamous ‘India Shining’ advertisement, Shazia termed it as “overkill”. “There was India Shining. Now we have been seeing such campaigning in TV and newspaper advertisements as well as and other media. It is along the same lines as the ‘India Shining’ campaign and the people know what happened to that campaign. This is an overkill,” Ilmi said. She has also said that the amount which has been used on such advertisements ought to have been spent on the people’s welfare.
Targeting Narendra Modi, she said, “He (Modi) has provided big pieces of lands to Adani at throwaway prices. We have seen Robert Vadra’s photograph with Adani. Modi is an agent of Adani, like Sonia Gandhi. They all are the same.” AAP’s candidate Dinesh Waghela, who is set to take on BJP’s Paresh Rawal and Congress party’s Himmatsinh Patel, alleged that state authorities have neglected poor people of this constituency.
“More than 20 per cent of the people do not get puredrinking water. They do not have other basic amenities like sanitation and the party in power has kept them devoid of all basic facilities,” Waghela said. Waghela also alleged that state authorities threatened people that if they did not vote in BJP’s favour then their houses would be demolished.