The Congress on Tuesday hit out at Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind leader Mahmood Madani for his remarks that the party should not try to attract Muslim votes by creating fear about somebody a reference to Narendra Modi. It questioned the reason for his sudden love for the Gujarat Chief Minister. Madanis comment created a political row as BJP used it to target Congress accusing it of being communal.
Congress fielded Meem Afzal to take on Madani. Afzal said Mahmood Madani had in the past praised Congresss secular outlook. If he has any misunderstanding about Congress now,we can clear it, he said. Afzal sought to know the reason for Madanis sudden Modi prem (love) and argued the party never indulged in personality politics. Our politics is about policies and programmes.
As far as the fear about Modi among the Muslims,he said we have not created any fear. It has been there for long. It has a history of its own. Although Madanis statement intrigued Congress,many party leaders linked it with 2014 polls,terming it as an attempt by the cleric to remain relevant.
Although he may be reflecting the frustration of several Muslim leaders with Modi being picked as the PM candidate by the BJP,there is a sub-text. Mahmood Madani has been engaged in a bitter turf war with his uncle Arshad Madani for the control of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind,the largest,oldest and the most respected organisation of aalims/imams in India. Arshad Madani is seen as close to the Congress leadership.
Mahmood Madani stuck to his statement Tuesday telling reporters that the so-called secular parties should not seek votes in a negative manner but carry out a positive campaign by speaking about their agenda and spelling out the promises they have fulfilled and promises that remain unfulfilled.
These so-called secular parties should explain what their governments in different states have done. What promises they have fulfilled and which ones still remain. They should seek votes on this basis and not on the basis of fear of somebody else (coming to power)…. Do not try to gain our votes in a negative way by showing the fear of a particular individual. Muslims wont be deterred by that, he said.
On Modi,he said it was a totally different issue. What was Modis agenda and on the basis of what he won the Gujarat election? Media has been observing a change in his approach during the run-up to the general elections. I wont say about him now. My focus is solely on secular parties way of gaining Muslim votes.
Wear skull caps,burqas to Kanpur rally: BJP to Muslims
In its campaign to project its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as a secular leader ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections,the BJP is making an appeal to Muslims in Kanpur to wear skull caps and burqas for Modis rally scheduled to be held on October 19. The Gujarat Chief Minister will begin his poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh with Kanpur rally. Members of Kanpur Mahanagar unit of the partys minority morcha are running a door-to-door campaign asking Muslims to attend the rally.
Raees Ahmad,president of the BJP minority wing,told The Indian Express,We are making an appeal to Muslim men to wear skull caps while women are requested to wear burqas in the rally on October 19. That is being done to ensure that Muslims in the rally could be recognised easily and their support for the party could be assessed. Ahmad said he expected at least 5,000 Muslims from the city to attend the rally.
He said the appeal was made Monday in the Muslim-dominated areas of Kanpur such as Chamanganj,Besanganj,Babupurva and Dalenpurva.
UP BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai,however,denied the reports of any such plea being made for the Kanpur rally. No directives have been given from party to make any such appeal to wear skull caps and burqas in the rally, he said.