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Maneka Gandhi gets notice after her vote call to Muslims sparks row

Sultanpur is one of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. Maneka Gandhi swapped her Pilibhit seat with Varun’s Sultanpur. Sultanpur will go to polls in May 12.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2019 08:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Maneka Gandhi,Lok Sabha,Sultanpur
Maneka Gandhi said Muslim voters need to understand it was a give-and-take relationship.(PTI)

Union minister Maneka Gandhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for the Sultanpur, found herself in a controversy on Friday over what was seen as a veiled threat to Muslim voters. At an election rally in Muslim-dominated Turab Khani village, Gandhi said Muslims would not get jobs if they didn’t vote for her. She also said she wouldn’t like to win the election without the support of Muslim voters, which her son Varun Gandhi represented in the 16th Lok Sabha. A clip of her speech went viral on social media, and opposition parties slammed her for what they saw as a “communal” speech.

Hardeo Pandey, additional district magistrate of Sultanpur, said sub-divisional magistrate, Sadar, has issued Gandhi a notice directing her to submit a reply.

In her speech, Gandhi said: “I am winning the election due to love and support of the people. I will not feel good about a victory without the support of Muslims. My feelings will get hurt. If Muslims then come to me asking for work, then I will think ‘let it be, how does it matter?’ Dil khatta ho jayega (my heart will turn sour). After all, a job is a deal.”

Gandhi said Muslim voters need to understand it was a give-and-take relationship. “We are not progeny of Mahatma Gandhi. It’s not that we keep giving and then losing in the election. “When an election comes and this booth throws up 100 votes or 50 votes, and then you come to me for work...we will have to see the polling. You all are all my well-wishers and remain my supporters. I do not see any divide, who belongs to which community. I see only pain, sadness and love. So it is for you to decide,” she said.

Sultanpur is one of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. Gandhi swapped her Pilibhit seat with Varun’s Sultanpur. Sultanpur will go to polls in May 12.

“This is not only a clear-cut violation of the model code of conduct but also an offence of criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code...and a ‘corrupt practice’ under the Representation of the Peoples Act...,” Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said of the speech.

Maneka Gandhi could not be reached for a comment.

“These days a terrified opposition fearing a certain loss is seeing communal in anything we say or do. I haven’t heard Manekaji’s speech but let me tell you one thing. She is no new comer but a veteran of many political battles and who commands great respect,” UP BJP spokesperson Harish Srivastava said.

First Published: Apr 12, 2019 23:05 IST