BJP being targeted, Rajnath tells Muslims

A day after the BJP dubbed the Congress as a party with "anti-Hindu" mentality, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Saturday sought to reach out to the Muslim community claiming that the saffron party was being maligned as anti-minority under a "planned conspiracy" and reminded a gathering of Muslim leaders that communal riots have taken place under Congress regimes too.

"BJP is defamed and maligned continuously under a planned conspiracy. Our opposition parties allege that BJP is the party which creates enmity between Hindus and Muslims. Did riots not take place during Congress rule? I can say with confidence that during Congress rule, many more riots took place...We have our government in several of the states...if a riot takes place anywhere, then it should not be assumed that BJP instigated the riot," Singh told the group of Muslim leaders assembled at BJP headquarters to felicitate the newly appointed party president.

Reminding them about the tenure of A B Vajpayee as Prime Minister, Singh claimed that their regime did not create differences between different communities. He appealed to the Muslim leaders to allay this "widespread confusion" about the saffron party.

"I want to make an appeal to you. If anyone can remove this widespread confusion, only you can do it and this beginning should be made from Delhi," he said.

He promised that the BJP government will do "justice" to all the communities.

At a separate function, Singh asserted that Indian culture preaches "tolerance" and neighbouring Pakistan while seeking a geographical breaking away as a separate nation also broke from this tradition that resulted in "linguistic" and "religious" intolerance."The bedrock of Pakistan's foundation is religious intolerance. India's division (in 1947) was not merely a geographical but also a cultural separation. Pakistan separated itself from the Indian culture of tolerance," he said, addressing a seminar on the condition of minorities in Pakistan.

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