Photo: DNA RNA
Photo: DNA RNA

If you thought Sonia Gandhi was the only one stirring up controversies by meeting up with top Muslim clerics, think again! BJP supremo Rajnath Singh, has not only met with an important Shia cleric from Lucknow, but he has also emerged with an assured backing to his contested seat in Lucknow, this general election.

A quick background check, on why Lucknow is such an electorally important constituency reveals the following:

1. Uttar Pradesh, whose capital is Lucknow, has 18 % of Muslims forming the voter base.

2. Lucknow itself has one fourth of its electorally active population comprising of Muslims.

3.There are nearly 1.8 lakh Shia Muslims in the whole of the state.

It is not surprising, that the minority appeasement card is drawn out at almost all rallies across the states – the party holding the rally, being immaterial. Earlier this month, Sonia Gandhi had paid a visit to Syed Ahmad Bukhari – the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid. She had allegedly appealed for undivided Muslim support from the country to her party during her visit, as claimed by the sources.

Their claims were not too farsighted with Mr. Bukhari coming out with his endorsement of the Congress just days after the meeting was held. Detractors, opponents, and even well-wishers from within the party had slammed her for playing the secular card.  Seems like, the mother does know best when it comes to being politically appealing.

What else could explain BJP’s sudden volte face? A party that has Hindutva deep-rooted as its core principle, has one of its eminent leaders making peace with top Muslim leaders, and it is “just a friendly outreach” (That’s actually worse than the “just friends” statement issued by our celebrities!). We don’t mean to sound divisive, but it isn’t every day that the BJP is empathetic and outreaching to the minority of our country (whether it be Muslims, Christians, Parsis, or otherwise) .

Mr. Singh’s meeting with Maulana Kalbe Jawad, he claims, is not in any way similar (yeah, right!) to the Congress president’s visit. Maulana Jawad even backed Mr. Singh by stating that as Muslims, they were scared of Narendra Modi, but not of Mr. Singh – who, by the way, was likened to Atal Bihari Vajpayee. That is high praise indeed, since Mr. Vajpayee (five times MP from Lucknow) is considered the golden standard for voters here.

Forgive us, dear party supremos if we refuse to buy your bogus claims of wanting an undivided India. If some amongst us haven’t witnessed the Godhra riots, we definitely have been mute listeners and spectators to the run up of these elections. Disguising secularism as “friendly ties” and trying to outdo each other in appeasing the minorities might get you through the elections. However, walking a mile in the face of communal tension and in the shoes of eminent leaders like Vajpayee after assuming power will not be a joyride, as he himself may recall.