Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesman and veteran journalist-turned-politician, M J Akbar on Thursday criticised the Congress for resorting to its old practice of treating the Muslim community as a ‘commodity’ to be bought during election time.
He held that it was the Congress that was responsible for under-development of the community, and slammed Congress president Sonia Gandhi for seeking to appease the Muslims with ‘19th century politics’.
“The Congress must stop treating any community (Muslims) as a commodity to be brought at election time by middlemen who have lost their credibility. I am deeply saddened over Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with Imam Bukhari. She is doing politics of the 19th century when the Indian Muslims today want development of the 21st century,” he said. He maintained that such outlook of using the community as a ‘commodity’ has the worst impact on the Muslim as they had not been facilitated the desired development and given false promises.
Claiming that the United Progressive Alliance government was not sincere in its assurances to the Muslim community, Akbar cited the special funds scheme for 90 minority-heavy districts in the country. “After three years of announcement of this special scheme, it all remained in paper. It was found that not a single rupee was sent to these districts. “Don’t dump the Muslims into a basket of fear, treat them as Indians” he said.
“The BJP has been able to win the confidence of the Muslims. Development alone is sufficient to win the trust of any community. The Muslims in Gujarat have prospered under Narendra Modi,” Akbar said.
Regarding the Gujarat riot slur on Modi, the BJP spokesperson said that those who pointed accusing finger at Modi for Gujarat riots, should now say sorry after Modi had been given clean chit by repeated probe conducted into the riot.
Akbar, who was also among those who had accused Modi of precipitating the riot in Gujarat, said that all who had spoken out against Modi at that time must now have the courage to admit their mistake.
He pointed out that Modi had been given clean chit by repeated enquiries conducted at behest of a rival government.
“I am deeply grateful to the UPA government since they have raised every question there was to be asked (regarding the riots). He (Modi) has been subjected to the most intense scrutiny for any chief minister by a host of agencies,” Akbar said, adding no one has been able to hold Modi personally responsible for the riots.