Madni says he never backed BJP PM candidate Modi

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi waves at supporters during a road show before filing his nomination papers in Varanasi. (PTI photo)


Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind leader Mahmood Madni on Thursday launched a sharp attack on BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, saying the key voting region of eastern Uttar Pradesh won’t be a cakewalk for the saffron party.

The Jamiat leader said his organisation was working to ensure a united “secular vote” on almost all seats in the critical region, which goes to polls on April 7.

“We don’t feel the NDA can easily get the numbers to form the next government. Our feedback is different. The results in Bihar and eastern UP will create a huge distance between Modi and the PM’s chair,” Madni said.

Ahead of the elections, Madni had slammed the Congress for playing on the “Muslims’ fear of Modi” to get votes while not doing anything substantial for them.

In a recent TV interview, he said Modi’s refusal to wear a skullcap was “not a big issue”, nor should Modi apologise for the Gujarat riots.

However, in an exclusive interview to HT on Thursday, Madni said: “Modi had gone against the credo of India’s Constitution to discriminate against India’s second largest minority (Muslims). We can’t accept him as Gujarat’s chief minister. So, where is the question of wanting him as PM?”

Madni, a former MP and an influential cleric, said his criticism of ‘secular’ parties was legitimate. “This should not be interpreted as support for Modi,” he added. “It is a fact that the condition of Muslims is very bad in some Congress-ruled states. Besides, the question of an apology by Modi doesn’t arise. An apology cannot be a substitute for justice.”

Madni said his organisation was trying to figure out the candidate with the best chances of putting up a fight against Modi in Varanasi.

 

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