Has PM Modi’s Diwali, Ramzan bhed-bhav remark given more fodder to Opposition?

The remarks didn't go down well with the opposition leaders, who found it as yet another attempt by Modi to polarize Hindu voters.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 20, 2017 5:22:48 pm
modi, narendra modi, ramzan, diwali, pm modi, bhed bhav, fatehpur, modi fatehpur, modi in fatehpur, latest news, up elections 2017, uttar pradesh PM Narendra Modi addressing an election rally in UP. (Source: ANI)

Always facing criticism for ’empowering the communal forces’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave fresh ammunition to his opponents on Sunday when he talked about ending discrimination between Hindus and Muslims. Promoting his Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas slogan, Modi, during an election in Uttar Pradesh’s Fatehpur district, said “Gaon mein agar kabristan banta hai, to gaon mein shamshaan bhi banana chahiye. Agar Ramzan me bijli militi hai, to Diwali me bhi milni chahiye. Agar Holi me bijli milit hai, to Eid par bhi bijli milni chahiye. Bhedbhav nahin hona chahiye (If a village gets a graveyard, it should get a cremation ground too. If there is electricity during Ramzan, there should be electricity during Diwali too. If there is electricity during Holi, there should be electricity during Eid too. There should not be any discrimination).”

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The remarks, however, didn’t go down well with the opposition leaders, who found it as yet another attempt by Modi to polarize Hindu voters. Many believed that Modi has got nervous with the tie-up between Congress and Samajwadi Party and with Muslims drifting towards the grand alliance, he is making all effort to pull all Hindus towards the BJP. Soon after Modi’s rally, #AllianceRattledModi started trending with many tweets critical of Modi’s speech.

And among those targetting Modi were Congress leader Salman Anees Soz who called the prime minister desperate, divisive and dangerous and went on to express surprise on his appointment as the top leader of the country. “How did this man become PM of Gandhi’s India? #desperate #divisive #dangerous #UPElection2017,” tweeted Soz. He also advised the prime minister to build up a sports field where kids from any religion can play togather. “B4 kabristan & shamshaan, we should have a khel maidaan where Hindu, Muslim, & kids of other faiths can play together. #AllianceRattledModi,” he added.

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Soz was joined by Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi who in a series of tweets asked the prime minister to end discrimnation against Muslims. He took a dig at Modi by reminding him of the discrmination shown by the BJP by not fielding any Muslim candidate in UP. He also talked about the selective beef ban in poll bound states. “400 mein Ek bhi musalman candidate nahin Bhedbhav nahin hona chahiye,’ tweeted Owaisi. “Goa mein Beef available, Maharashtra mein Beef Ban,Bhedbav nhi hona chahiye Mitro,” he added.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury also slammed Modi for ‘creating a divide between Hindu and Muslims. He said people of UP need better livelihood than discussion on cremation site or graveyard.

From the ruling Samajwadi Party to Bahujan Samaj Party, all have tried to corner Modi and the BJP on the issue of polarization and demonetisation in their polls campaigns. They have asserted that they will go to any extent to keep the communal forces away from Uttar Pradesh which had sent 71 MPs in Lok Sabha in the 2014 general elections. In a recent rally, Mayawati had said she is ready to sit in opposition than to form an alliance with the BJP in case of a hung assembly. And in such a scenario, Modi’s latest will certainly be a talking point in the upcoming rallies by the BJP rivals.

But a close look at Modi’s remark suggests that it was not a communal statement, if the state administration makes all effort to ensure uninterrupted power supply during the month of Ramzan to keep the chief minister’s Muslim vote bank happy, Hindus spirit of festival must not be dampened with power cuts. And that state government needs to address the issue of basic amenities than allowing to to be used as political tool. After all it is the good governance which people vote for. Appeasement politics should be done away with.

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