Muslims on mind,JD-U campaign to keep off Advani

The BJP’s election punch line — ‘Advani for PM’ — will not find a place in the poll campaign of its crucial ally...

Written by J.P. Yadav | New Delhi | Published: February 19, 2009 1:17 am

The BJP’s election punch line — ‘Advani for PM’ — will not find a place in the poll campaign of its crucial ally,the Janata Dal (United). The JD(U) will instead project the achievements of the Nitish Kumar Government in Bihar during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The decision is in keeping with the view that the NDA prime ministerial candidate may not find favour with a majority of the Muslim population in Bihar despite all the benefits extended to the minority community by the state Government. The JD(U) has realised that without making fissures in the Muslim vote bank they will not be able to defeat rival RJD.

“Our poll campaign will focus on the achievements of the three years of the Nitish Kumar-led Government. We will tell the voters,particularly Muslims,to strengthen us so that we can implement the Bihar model at the Centre too,” said JD(U) MP and spokesperson Shivanand Tiwary. He said that the state Government had pursued various welfare schemes for the Muslims,keeping the saffron agenda of their partner at bay.

The JD(U) however is aware that despite their best effort to keep Advani’s name away,arch rival RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav will raise it vociferously in his bid to woo Muslims. “We are prepared for it. We will counter it by citing examples of how the RJD regime had patronised those charged of killing Muslims in the Bhagalpur communal riots. Muslims of Bihar know that the RJD had just used them as a vote bank,” said Tiwary,referring to how Kamehswar Yadav,named in a riot case,was exonerated by the police and given a certificate for maintaining communal harmony.

Securing Muslim support is crucial for the JD(U) as the state Government made every effort in the past three years to woo the community. Besides implementing various schemes for Muslims,the party also got lesser-known Muslim leaders elevated to the Rajya Sabha.

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