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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Cong, BJP spar over Rajnath's meeting with Muslim clerics

PTI  New Delhi, April 15, 2014
First Published: 21:19 IST(15/4/2014) | Last Updated: 21:21 IST(15/4/2014)

Congress and BJP on Tuesday sparred over Rajnath Singh's meeting with Muslim clerics in Lucknow with the ruling party accusing BJP of "double-speak" and the opposition party hitting back.

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Attempting to reach out to Muslim community, Singh had met some prominent Muslim religious leaders on Monday in the UP capital from where he is fighting the Lok Sabha election.

"Congress wants to ask BJP if the Shahi Imam comes to Congress President's residence it is communalism, then what they would call when the BJP chief goes to Muslim clerics and makes promises to them? Is it not communalism?" Congress general secretary Ajay Maken asked.

Gandhi's meeting with the Shahi Imam had invited strong reaction from BJP with its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi leading the attack. Modi has accused her of spreading the "poison of communalism" in election.

"It shows BJP's double-speak, double-face and dual character," Maken said.

Rejecting Congress' charge, BJP said Singh had met them like he had been meeting other groups of people and did not ask them to make a political appeal for him or the party as Gandhi had "done" in her meeting with the Imam Bukhari.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Singh's meeting could not be equated with Gandhi's.

"She met a delegation of Muslims clerics led by the Shahi Imam and appealed to him that Muslim votes should not split. Seeking votes in the name of religion is wrong. Rajnath has done nothing wrong. Every candidate meets people in their constituency," he said.

BJP said there was no political discussion at the meet during which the clerics discussed problems faced by Muslims and emphasised the need for a special opportunity for the community in the field of education.

Singh had met Vice-President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Kalbe Sadiq and Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, Maulana Hameeudul Hassan, Maulana Yasoob Abbas and Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Maha.


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