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Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 17, 2013
The BJP is trying hard to ensure that the projection of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate does not alienate the Muslim community. Ahead of the Delhi assembly elections, the Delhi BJP has started organising interaction programmes in Muslim-dominated areas.

On Monday, a day before Modi’s birthday, it organised an interaction and celebration programme at northeast Delhi’s Seelampur, a Muslim-dominated area.

“We have been interacting with minority groups and they suggested that an interaction programme should be held to dispel any confusion or fear the people might have. They wanted to hold the programme today as it is Modiji’s birthday tomorrow,” said Khemchand Sharma, convenor of BJP’s Samvad Cell (a party unit comprising intellectuals to reach out to specific target groups). 

According to sources, the function was attended by more than 200 people. “Muslims in Gujarat are enjoying better facilities. But in Delhi, the Congress, which claims to have worked for them, has been making false promises. During the interaction, we said the BJP would look after their welfare,” added Sharma.

More such meetings will take place ahead of the September 29 rally to be addressed by Modi, sources said. “We have asked the people to attend the rally on September 29 and make it a grand success. This is a huge chance for Delhiites to understand Modi’s plans and his model of development which will bring about a positive change amongst the neglected sections, including the Muslim community,” said a senior BJP leader.

“The massive development in Gujarat in the last 14 years under Modi’s leadership speaks volume about his capabilities. We are only holding these meetings to inform people about his vision,” added another leader.