NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing strong criticism from political opposition as well as civil society for harping on Hindu-Muslim issue in his recent public rallies ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Modi resorting to Hindu-Muslim debate proves he has done little for development in his last four years as PM.
Addressing a public rally in Azamgarh of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, PM Modi had targeted Congress over its president Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with some Muslim intellectuals. Modi hit at the party over media reports carrying alleged remarks of Gandhi that Congress is a party for Muslims – the party has trashed the reports as fake news.
“For the last two days I am hearing that a naamdar leader (a sarcastic reference to Rahul Gandhi) recently said that the Congress is a party of Muslims. I’m not surprised. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once said that Muslims have the first right over nation’s natural resources. But please tell us whether the Congress is only for Muslim men? Or does it have space for Muslim women too because they don’t stand with Muslim women on issues of triple talaq and nikah halala,” PM Modi had said addressing a public meeting after laying foundation for the Purvanchal Expressway road project.
His targeting of the Congress over its meeting with Muslims has invited strong criticism from the political parties and civil society alike.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked Modi for harping on Hindu-Muslim issue.
In this age of technology and 5G, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains obsessed by subjects related to Hindu-Muslim divide, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in Indore of Madhya Prdesh on Sunday.
“When the world is talking about technology and 5G, our Prime Minister is describing the Congress as a party of Muslims and the BJP as a party of Hindus,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader told a public rally here.
“This proves that no development has taken place in the four years of Modi rule,” he said. “Even the 3G doesn’t work in our country well,” he said.
Congress leader and former Union Minister Shakeel Ahmad commented: “PM Modi and BJP leaders try to spread communal hatred between Hindus & Muslims, in the name of Shamshaan & Qabristaan, Mandir & Masjid, Ahmed Patel & Pakistan, in public domain. But the story is different outside public glare.”
Writer Sanjukta Basu while criticizing PM Modi tweeted: “On a serious note, it’s unfortunate that 2019 elections have already become all about Hindu-Muslim. Nothing else is a poll issue. Jobs, development, economy, environment, women’s safety, foreign policy, defense on all these Modi failed, but we won’t discuss these.”
On a serious note, it's unfortunate that 2019 elections have already become all about Hindu – Muslim. Nothing else is a poll issue. Jobs, development, economy, environment, women's safety, foreign policy, defense on all these Modi failed, but we won't discuss these.
— Sanjukta (@sanjukta) July 14, 2018
Congress media department official Rachit Seth said: “PM is copy pasting the modus operandi of his Bhakts who circulate Fake Quotes on Social Media. Development Card of MODI has pathetically failed & REAL MODI who talks about Hindu-Muslim Division is Now Unmasked! With these LIES, 2019 Campaign has officially begun!”
Journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani also targeted PM for talking Hindu-Muslim and said his attack on Congress for its meeting with Muslims is to sideline Muslims.
“There’s a clear purpose behind spreading the fake news that Rahul Gandhi called Congress a ‘Muslim party’. While Modi unequivocally does politics of Hindu supremacy, he wants to eliminate all possibilities of engagement with Muslims by any party. He wants India to disown its Muslims,” she said.
Political activist Gaurav Pandhi tweeted: “If PM Modi & his Govt had performed in last 4 yrs, delivering on even 50% of the promises he made, he wouldn’t have had to peddle lies to deflect people’s attention. Every time Modi says “Hindu” or “Muslim”, take it as his admission of failure to deliver on “development”.
If PM @narendramodi & his Govt had performed in last 4 yrs, delivering on even 50% of the promises he made, he wouldn't have had to peddle lies to deflect people's attention. Every time Modi says "Hindu" or "Muslim", take it as his admission of failure to deliver on "development"
— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) July 14, 2018
Ahead of the Football World Cup final Sunday night, Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh also came down heavily on the Hindu-Muslim debate in the country.
लगभग 50 लाख की आबादी वाला देश क्रोएशिया फ़ुटबॉल वर्ल्ड कप का फाइनल खेलेगा
और हम 135 करोड़ लोग हिंदू मुसलमान खेल रहे है।#soch bdlo desh bdlega
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) July 15, 2018
“Croatia, a country with a population of around 50 lakh, will play the football world cup final and we a nation of 135 crore people are playing Hindu-Muslim. Change thinking, country will change,” tweeted Singh Sunday afternoon. His tweet has so far got 20,000 likes and 5,400 retweets. However, as usual, the army of right-wing trolls has pounced on him.
During the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in Feb-March last year, PM Modi had asked: When there is qabristan in each village why there is no Shamshan. He had also said that electricity should be supplied as much on the occasion of Diwali as on the occasion of Eid. His remarks were seen as his deliberate move to polarize voters on communal lines. BJP got landslide victory in the polls couple of weeks later.