Rajat Sharma


AKB30 As the crucial third phase of voting for Lok Sabha elections ended on Tuesday, the race has now begun for remaining half of the total seats in Parliament. Calls for “vote jihad” are now being made, first in UP and now in Maharashtra, with Muslim Personal Law Board and Kul Jamat-e-Tanzeem leaders giving a clear call to Muslim voters to defeat Modi and BJP. The call is clear: Do not look at the candidates or the parties, but collectively cast your votes for the candidate who is in a strong position to defeat the BJP. In his public meeting, PM Narendra Modi clearly said, voters should now choose between “vote jihad” or Ram Rajya. Modi said, he is asking for 400 Lok Sabha seats, because he wants to foil the designs of Congress and its allies. Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis alleged that calls are being given from mosques across Maharashtra, and from religious meetings of Muslims, to target BJP and defeat Modi. Fadnavis demanded that the Election Commission must look into appeals being made in the name of religion. In an interview with India TV, Fadnavis said, mosques in Maharashtra are issuing calls to support Maha Vikas Aghadi candidates and defeat BJP and allies. India TV reporter obtained a video of a Muslim meeting in Pune, convened by Kul Jamaati-e-Tanzim. Representatives from across Maharashtra attended, and at the meeting, calls were made to defeat BJP and Narendra Modi at all costs. Speaker after speaker spoke about targeting Modi and BJP in the meeting attended by several hundred Muslims. Hardliner spokesperson of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Sajjad Nomani said, Muslims should now become alert, as “this is the last chance” because calls are being given to end reservation and change the Constitution. Nomani said, Muslims should stop pick and choose policy about parties and candidates, and collectively vote to defeat Modi and BJP. “We must not see whether the candidate is Muslim or non-Muslim, we must elect the candidate who can help in changing the present government at the Centre”, he said. After Nomani spoke, another leader of Kul Jamaati-e-Tanzim Osman Hiroli read out the names of candidates who need to be made victorious. Nomani cleverly avoided naming the candidates since he belongs to AIMPLB, which is avowedly a non-political outfit. At the meeting, Kul Jamaati-e-Tanzim leaders decided whom to vote for four important seats, Baramati, Pune, Mawal and Shirur, and an appeal was issued to support INDIA alliance candidates. Reacting to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing rallies in Khargone, Dhar, Beed and Ahmednagar, raised the ‘vote jihad’ issue, and said: “On one hand Pakistani terrorists speak of jihad against India, and here a Congress leader is asking people belonging to one religion to start vote jihad. This shows the desperation in the Congress camp.” Modi alleged that the Congress wants to put Babri lock on Ram temple in Ayodhya and end caste-based reservation. He alleged, Congress wants to include its vote bank (Muslims) among the OBCs, and in order to stop this, BJP needs to win 400 seats. Naturally, leaders who question Modi about why he is raising ‘vote jihad’ have got their replies after the Pune meeting of Kul Jamaati-e-Tanzim. In the last several elections, Muslims have always been asked to vote unitedly against BJP, but this time, the appeal is for dislodging Modi from power. Till now, this work was done secretly, but the video clearly shows a respected Muslim leader like Maulana Sajjad Nomani asking all Muslims to vote for the candidate who can defeat Modi. Sajjad Nomani is not an ordinary individual. His words carry weight in the Muslim community and he is widely respected. When Nomani says, Muslims must vote unitedly to stop BJP from coming to power, no room is left for doubts anymore. But Narendra Modi is least worried. Modi has now got the chance to tell people after ‘vote jihad’. Secondly, Modi has been alleging that Congress and its allies want to reduce reservation quotas of OBCs and Dalits and give fresh quota to Muslims. Congress may very well deny this charge, but RJD founder Lalu Prasad Yadav has spilled the beans in Bihar. On Tuesday, when reporters asked Lalu Yadav whether reservation quota for OBCs and Dalits will be reduced to give some reservation to Muslims, the RJD patriarch replied: “Muslims mut get reservation, poora ka poora (full)”. In his Dhar rally, PM Modi referred to Lalu as “chaara chor” (fodder thief) and said, the one who stole fodder is now aiming to steap the reservation for Dalits and OBCs. “Their hidden agenda is now out”, said Modi. After the controversy spiralled, Lalu Yadav came again in front of cameras to clarify that he never said about giving reservation on the basis of religion. “Reservation is given on social grounds, not on religious grounds, we had implemented Mandal Commission recommendations, but Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government set up a Constitution Review Commission. BJP is the real opponent of Constitution and reservation”, Lalu Yadav said. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi issued a recorded statement in which she said that atrocities on Dalits, backwards and minorities have increased during Modi’s rule, and the Constitution is in danger. The nation needs Congress rule, she said. In fact, a war of words is going on over Muslim reservation between Modi and Rahul Gandhi.

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