Lucknow: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday stoked a controversy saying that the number of Hindu candidates inviting him to campaign for them has reduced drastically in the past few years, asserting that people are “afraid” that it may adversely impact Hindu votes. Also Read - Sonia Gandhi Laments Plight of Migrants Amid Lockdown, Accuses Centre of Turning Deaf Ears to Their Pain

“Since the days of the Youth Congress, I have been campaigning across the country from Andaman and Nicobar to Lakshadweep. Around 95 per cent of those who used to call me were Hindu brothers and leaders, and just 5 per cent were Muslim brothers,” said Azad while addressing the alumni of Aligarh Muslim University in Lucknow. Also Read - Bajrang Dal Demands Resignation of CEO After Vaishno Devi Shrine Served Sehri-Iftari to Quarantined Muslims in Ramadan 2020 Amid COVID-19

“But in the last four years, I have been observed that the figure of 95 has dropped to just 20 per cent. This means that there is something wrong… Aaj darta hai admi bulane se… iska voter pe kya asar hoga… (Today people are afraid to call me… wondering what effect would I have on the voter),” he added. Also Read - 'Will Defeat Coronavirus Under CM Thackeray's Leadership': Maharashtra Minister Raut Slams Centre, BJP | Watch

Criticising Azad’s remarks, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra termed it “yet another attempt by the Congress to malign Hindus”. Patra said that Azad is belittling the Hindu community and is desiring to campaign in Pakistan.

“The Hindu community firmly believes in secularism and always believe in ‘vasudhaika kutumbam’. To say that Hindus have any kind of ill feelings towards Ghulam Nabi Azad and Salman Khurshid is belittling the Hindu community. I feel, Azadji, you want to campaign in Pakistan because you no longer are fond of Hindus in India and that is why Congress is advertising its Modi-hatao campaign in Pakistan,” said Patra.

The senior Congress leader said that the AMU was being defamed by a certain group of people from a particular community.

“Ek vishesh dal aur ek vishesh soch ke log, Kashmir aur AMU ko… Kashmir ke ladkon ko tang karne ke liye yeh sajishe banate rehte hain. (People of a particular party and of a particular thought are fomenting trouble for Kashmiri students and AMU through controversies),” Azad was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.

Two Kashmiri students — Wasim Ayub Malik and Abdul Hasib Meer — were suspended last Friday for allegedly participating in an aborted Namaaz-e-Janaza (prayer meeting) in the university campus for slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant, Manan Bashir Wani.

Wani, an AMU student who quit his PhD course in Allied Geology and joined the militant ranks in January this year, was killed in an encounter in Kupwara district last week.