Don't invoke Narendra Modi to create fear among Muslim voters: Jamiat chief

Narendra ModiNarendra Modi suffers from a rather ill reputation ever since the 2002 Gujarat communal riots

Prominent Muslim leader Maulana Mehmood Madani kicked up a controversy on Tuesday by asking "so-called" secular parties not to invoke Narendra Modi bogey to create fear among Muslim voters and woo them in a "negative manner".

BJP latched on to these comments to allege that Congress believes in divide and rule which has been "recognised" by the people. Congress said it is not creating any scare about Modi and that it already exists.

Madani, leader of prominent Islamic organisation Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Hind, said the "so-called" secular parties should not seek votes in a "negative manner" but through "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)," he told reporters.

He did not specify but was clearly referring to the contention by some parties that emergence of Modi would polarise the country and be detrimental to the interests of Muslims.

"What I am saying is that all the secular parties that have been in power, what have they done so far? And what will they do in future to provide justice, equal opportunities to the people?... I would ask the secular parties to seek votes on the basis of the promises fulfilled during their tenure and the promises they will make through election manifestos.

"Do not try to gain our votes in a negative way by showing the fear of a particular individual. Muslims won't be deterred by that," he said.

To a question on Modi, Madani said, "It is a totally different issue. What was Modi's 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 won't say about him now. My focus is solely on secular parties' way of gaining Muslim votes."

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