Photo: DNA RNA
Photo: DNA RNA

In desperate attempts to get votes and sympathy, the political parties are trying hard to do everything as we have been seeing different kinds of tactics and tricks by politicians. The 16th Lok Sabha Elections has seen many such attempts so far to polarise the votes and Election Commission reacting to such things. But this time it is not Congress or BJP or any other old political party members but the turn of Aam Aadmi Party. The controversy currently is over a video clip that has gone viral on media networks showing AAP leader Shazia Ilmi talking about Muslims of the country.

The video shows Shazia Ilmi saying that Muslims in India have been more secular than needed and they need to be a little communal. The video shows her saying, “Don’t be much secular. Muslims are too secular and they should become communal. They are not communal and do not vote for themselves. Arvind Kejriwal is ours. Muslims have remained secular for long…have voted for the Congress and helped them win. Don’t be so secular and look at your house (community) this time.”

This video showing Ilmi with some Muslim faces in some hall kind of a room is believed to be of last week. Ilmi, a member of AAP’s national executive, is seen further saying “agree, this is controversial, but this is important” in reaction to a person sitting next to her who says, “We are afraid, we have to vote”. And then clip ends with Shazia’s words saying, “Kaam badal dijiye.. lado aur jito (change the work. Fight and win).”

While there was a strong and fast resentment among social media and opponent parties, the AAP was quick to distance itself from such statement. AAP’s another leader Manish Sisodia said that they do not believe in communal politics and Shazia should not have said it. Even some Muslim clerics have called it unacceptable and asked for action against her.

Shazia Ilmi is AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Ghaziabad and has seen herself in controversy before this also when a video clip was doing rounds on social networks showing Shazia Ilmi and some other AAP members asking for funds for the party in return of favours.

Shazia Ilmi later on TV channels tried to convince that she was misinterpreted but the damage was done. She has also refused to apologise for her comments which she says were totally in other context. Defending her remarks, Ilmi had yesterday tweeted: “Well someone was accusing Muslims of being communal. I think Muslims keep voting for Congress which uses them as vote bank.” In the season of election that too at the peak, such statements whether sarcastically or literally are bound to create confusions and controversies.

While many people condemned the statement, there were some people who said that her intention was not to communalise the issue but her words were not safe. She could have used some other words to say the same things in a different way also for words like ‘secular’ and ‘communal’ have only one meaning in India.

BJP has already said that they will complain against Shazia Ilmi’ remark to the Election Commission. How far will this secular and communal statement go, and how will the Muslims take it across India will be known very soon.