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'Development or Duplicity' pamphlets surface to counter BJP's riot taint

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 28, 2013
First Published: 02:24 IST(28/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:06 IST(2/10/2013)

“Development or Duplicity: you decide” is the question that Delhi BJP is asking Muslims through pamphlets that were distributed outside mosques and madrasas in the Capital after the Friday prayers ahead of Narendra Modi’s rally in Rohini on Sunday.

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The pamphlets claim that 18,471 people died in communal riots since Independence in the Congress-ruled states. It also gives out names of the then chief ministers. The leaflets are aimed at wooing Muslims to the party fold and countering Opposition propaganda against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate regarding the 2002 Gujarat riots .   

The publicity material claimed that 5,000 people were killed in West Bengal (1947) and Assam (1983) while 2,733 were killed in Delhi (1984) and about 2,000 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh (1980). These figures were juxtaposed with figures of development indices from Gujarat during the past decade, under Modi’s rule.

“If politics is to be decided on the basis of communal violence, then most riots have taken place under the Congress regimes. If this logic is to followed, people should reject it outright. Whenever we talk about development that has taken place in Gujarat, the Opposition counters with riots. Do we know who were the chief ministers when communal riots took place in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or other states? Then why should Modi be named all the time? These are the questions we are raising through the pamphlets that we have distributed,” said Atif Rashid, president of the Delhi BJP’s minority cell.

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The cell has distributed over 1.5 lakh pamphlets across the city’s mosques and madarsas.

The party has gone all out to garner support from Muslims for the Sunday rally at Rohini. The party expects 25,000 Muslims to attend the rally.

Though no apparent attempt has been made to enforce the ‘burqa and skull cap rule’ like a recent Modi rally in Bhopal, the party is wooing the section of the community which invariably dons them.

“We are not forcing anyone to wear a skull cap or a burqa. But there would be housewives who generally move around wearing the burqa,” he added. 

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Jai Prakash Agarwal, however, said the BJP is known for its communal agenda. “They have links to every incident of communal violence. Gujarat is a big case in point. Whatever happened in Gujarat in 2002 is blot on India,” Agarwal said.

The BJP, on the other hand, is banking on Modi’s development model to woo the minority community. The minorities cell of the Delhi BJP has been conducting meetings, seminars, interactions to ensure greater participation.

Even Muslim housewives have been urged to participate in the rally.

Campaigns are also being run on the social media to motivate Muslims to attend Modi’s rally and understand Modi’s development model.

Foreign diplomats for rally
According to Vijay Jolly, BJP’s Global Overseas Convener, apart from the US and UK, they have received confirmation from diplomats representing 36 other countries to attend the rally. Some of these countries include South Africa, Mexico, Germany, Japan, China, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan, the Philippines.

On Friday HT had reported that the BJP had extended an invitation to the US ambassador to India to attend the rally being labelled as ‘Vikas Rally’.

Read: Making a pitch

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