Indian Express

Skull caps, clerics: Rajnath goes all out to woo Muslims

Earlier, as the the road show began Goa CM Manohar Parrikar joined in from the party office to Bhoothnath market. Tweet This
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BJP candidate Rajnath Singh puts wet cloth on his face as Goa CM Manohar Parrikar and local MP Lalji Tondon look on during a roadshow in Lucknow on Sunday. Pramod Singh BJP candidate Rajnath Singh puts wet cloth on his face as Goa CM Manohar Parrikar and local MP Lalji Tondon look on during a roadshow in Lucknow on Sunday. Pramod Singh

Leaving no stone unturned to project BJP’s “secular identity”, party national president and candidate from Lucknow Rajnath Singh Sunday began his “Mahasampark Abhiyan” with a roadshow where apart from senior party leaders, two Muslim clerics accompanied him in an open vehicle modified as a chariot.

The clerics — Maulana Mahmood of Saharanpur and Maulana Asad of Delhi — remained present on the chariot during the eight-hour long road show and also sought votes for the BJP. More skull cap-donning Muslim youths followed a little behind in three cars.

One of the youths, Shahnawaj, who had come from Moradabad, said, more than two dozen Muslims have come from Delhi to campaign for Rajnath. Shahnawaj has the responsibility of clicking the photographs of the clerics with Rajnath and sending them to the media and Muslim organisations.

During the road show, which passed through some 50 areas in the city, Rajnath addressed public meetings at over half a dozen places and reiterated that BJP will win with support of all communities. He said that while Narendra Modi would handle the responsibility of development of the country, it would be his duty to change the face of Lucknow in next five years.

In all these meetings, the party ensured the presence of skull cap-wearing Muslims on the stage with Rajnath.

Earlier, as the the road show began Goa CM Manohar Parrikar joined in from the party office to Bhoothnath market. From Faridi Nagar onwards, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh replaced Parrikar.

Former BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, party’s national spokesperson Sudhashu Trivedi, and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpyee’s confidant Shiv Kumar also participated in the roadshow as did workers of Patanjali Yogapeeth and Swambiman Trust of Baba Ramdev.

As per the schedule, Rajnath would continue with his mass contact programme Monday when Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, senior party leader Shahnawaz Hussain and Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goyal will accompany him.

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