Didnít ask Muslims to back Modi, says Shahabuddin

Shahabuddin

Stung by sharp and hostile response from Muslims after his open letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi ó outlining nine things that could win the community's support, despite the 2002 pogrom ó former MP Syed Shahabuddin told The Indian Express that he has issued a clarification suggesting that he has been misinterpreted and, in fact, he wanted to warn "upper class" Muslims from moving towards Modi and urged them to "rethink".

In a letter to people who spoke out against him over the weekend, Shahabuddin said that the open letter to Modi was "mistakenly" sent on a letterhead of the Joint Committee for Muslim Organisations for Empowerment. "Nowhere in this letter have I asked Muslims to forgive Modi or to vote for him. However, it is a fact that through various devises over the years Modi has been able to soften some Muslims of the upper classes. The strategy behind this letter was to caution them and to rethink about Modi on the eve of the election, so that they could be weaned away by taking note that Modi has not fulfilled any real Muslim demands," he wrote in the second letter.

Shahabuddin added that it's important for Muslims to read what he has written as "guidelines" issued by an organisation he is part of. The JCMOE is a platform set up a decade ago to push for Muslim reservations. Shahabuddin said that JCMOE had issued similar guidelines before the recent UP Assembly polls, urging Muslims to vote unitedly. He added, "Its purpose is that Muslim representation in the legislatures should increase with secular, capable and reliable persons, preferably Muslims. This purpose can be achieved only if Muslim votes are not scattered and thus ineffective, but are concentrated and cast unitedly in the favour of one selected secular candidate. As far as I know no member group has taken any objection to this approach."

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