BJP on Wednesday saw “nothing wrong” in party chief Rajnath Singh meeting Muslim religious leaders in Lucknow, saying candidates should meet voters across his constituency.
“We have no problem there. Rajnathji said he is meeting all voters across his constituency. He is not seeking votes on the basis of religion but asking votes on the issue of development,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters in Delhi.
He said this when it was pointed out to him that BJP had earlier objected to Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with Muslim leaders. Attempting to reach out to Muslim community, Singh met some prominent Muslim religious leaders yesterday in Lucknow,
from where he is seeking election to the Lok Sabha.
The Muslim community comprises a major chunk of voters in Uttar Pradesh. The meeting came a few days after Gandhi met Syed Ahmed
Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Delhi Jama Masjid, and asked Muslims to ensure that their vote is not divided.
Javadekar, however, did not agree with the comparison and said, “We had objected to Sonia’s meeting with the Muslim delegation because she was seeking votes on religion basis. She asked them not to split their votes.”
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Terming Gandhi’s meeting as communal, he said, “There is a basic difference between the meeting of Sonia Gandhi and Rajnathji meeting voters. She appealed to them not to split their votes. She is asking them to vote enbloc, it is a communal appeal.”
“On the other hand every candidate has a right to meet every voter. He (Singh) is meeting all religious leaders. He is not seeking votes on the basis of religion but on the issue of development, Javadekar said, adding Congress is indulging in communal politics. In Lucknow, BJP MP Lalji Tandon said, “These are courtesy meetings. Every candidate meets prominent people of different sections of society and seeks their support.”
He claimed there was no political discussion at the meet during which the clerics discussed problems faced by the Muslims and emphasised on the need for special opportunity for the community in the field of education.
Tandon had accompanied Singh during his meeting with Vice-President of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Kalbe Sadiq and Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, Maulana Hameeudul Hassan, Maulana Yasoob Abbas and Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali.