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In Azamgarh, Rajnath Singh goes soft on minority quota

india Updated: Feb 08, 2012 00:26 IST
Vikas Pathak

During a whirlwind campaign on Tuesday in Azamgarh, controversial for its "terror hub" tag, former BJP president Rajnath Singh highlighted the minority issue, but in a way that is "secular".

"Jawaharlal Nehru himself said religious reservation would be destructive for the country. Is Sonia Gandhi blessing a policy that runs against Nehru's ideals even as the Congress wants votes in his name? Are they trying to divide the nation?" Singh asked the crowd during the meetings. "And are you going to cut the quota of the backward classes to provide quota on religious grounds?"

He reminded his audience that India had been partitioned based on religion and asked whether we would tolerate another vivisection of the motherland. He also said he too tried to implement a most backward sub-quota but didn't do it on the grounds of religion, but backwardness.

This area has been "weak" for the BJP but ideologically important as it is in this town that issues like "Islamist terror" and Batla House encounter have become controversial, with Congress leader Digvijaya Singh often making "alienation" of youth here part of his political discourse. However, Rajnath Singh's campaign raises these issues even while "balancing" them, taking care not to sound alarmist.

"Azamgarh is a known district. After what Congress did with Batla House encounter, the world knows it. Congress,SP and BSP cross all limits to get votes,and they treat Muslims as vote banks...," he added.