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We are no longer untouchable for Muslims: BJP
March 19, 2008 11:56 IST
To bring Muslims into its fold ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, a brainstorming session of senior saffron party leaders will be held at Hyderabad next month to chalk out a comprehensive strategy.
"The BJP is no longer untouchable for Muslims and they will have no problems under the leadership of L K Advani," senior BJP leader and party's national president of the minority cell Shahnawaz Hussain said.
He said a three-day meeting of senior leaders of the party would be held at Hyderabad from April 3 in which a comprehensive strategy would be chalked out to bring the Muslims into the party fold.
Although Hussain remained non-committal when asked whether the saffron party would field more Muslim candidates in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, he did say that "religion will not come in the way of winnability".
"All I can say at this moment is that 'winnability' will be the most important factor in the selection of candidates...it won't matter if he is a Muslim," he said when pressed on this count. Hussain rejected an assertion that Muslims could have difficulties in accepting Advani's leadership.
"The BJP has the credit of giving riot-free states barring Gujarat....and there too about 30 per cent Muslims had voted for BJP in the last Assembly elections in the state," Hussain claimed.
"Our endeavour will be to remove any misgiving and misconception in the minds of the Muslim community," the former union civil aviation minister said.
Hussain claimed that the condition of Muslims in Gujarat was a "lot better than that of their brethren in the Congress ruled states".
The party would be giving tickets to a large number of Muslims from Kashmir valley in the next assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], he said adding it was planning to hold a meeting of Muslims in Srinagar [Images] in the next few months.
Hussain, who is also a member of the BJP central election committee, said this time around his party would announce its candidates quite early.
"The process of internal screening and collection of feed back is currently on," the saffron party leader said adding the aim was to provide the candidates as much time as possible for campaigning. Referring to the spiraling prices of essential commodities, he asserted that "the issue of price rise would herald the doom of the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls".
"The budget, which is being celebrated by the Congress, will prove to be its waterloo," he said attacking the loan waiver proposal.
"The loan waiver proposal is an illusion as has been proved by the Finance Minister's statement that it will be given in phases meaning thereby that the burden will fall on the next government," he said.