Debate: Tactical Muslim voting?
New Delhi:03/04/2014: OBB/SC- Abdus Shamim:Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday (April 2) rejected the BJP charge that that she was polarising elections, calling it “absolutely a joke”. “We are not in the habit or in the game of polarising the elections,” she told reporters when asked about BJP’s charge of her playing communal politics. The BJP accusation came against her against the backdrop of Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari meeting her with a delegation at her residence in Delhi yesterday during which she had favoured that secular should not be divided. She reportedly told them that she had embraced politics after hesitation to help nurture the cause of secularism and appealed for a united move to stop the secular vote from splitting. When told that BJP has said that she was trying to polarise the electorate, Gandhi retorted, “it is absolutely a joke. I can’t say more than that.”
Quick to grab the opportunity, BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Prakash Javdekar attacked Gandhi saying she was indulging in communal politics. Gandhi, who filed her nomination papers from Rae Bareli constituency today, also called on some Muslim clerics at the Ali Mian dargah. About contesting from Rae Bareli, she said, “this is customary for us. We start from Gaya Prasad Dwivedi’s house in Rae Bareli. We file the nomination papers and then we come here to work.” Asked what was special about Rae Bareli seat, she said, “It has been a tradition from Feroze Gandhi’s time and Indira Gandhi’s time. We are carrying it on.”
In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists — Abid Rasool Khan, Spokesperson, Congress; Asifa Khan, Leader, BJP; Maulana Maqsood-ul-Hasan Qasmi, Chairman, Imam Council of India; Vani Tripathi Tikkoo, National Secretary, BJP; Gaurav Bhatia, National President, Legal Wing, SP; Shahid Siddiqui, Chief Editor, Nai Duniya and Dr Mustafa Kamal, Leader, National Conference — discuss whether, should parties invoke pull of religious figures for political advantage?