Joining the league of politicians to play the communal card this election season, Congress' Navjot Singh Sidhu appealed to the '64% Muslim population' to vote for the party in order to oust the Modi government. Taking cognisance of this address, AIMIM's Waris Pathan accused the Congress of polarisation and failing to provide empowerment to the community they sought votes from.
After chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati, upon Sidhu's Muslim appeal Pathan titled BJP and Congress 'two sides of the same coin' and questioned the lack of empowerment of Muslims economically, socially and politically.
He said, "Let me tell you, the BJP as well as the Congress are two sides of the same coin. Now the Congress wants the Muslim votes. There were 90% Muslim votes, had they done anything for the betterment of the Muslims? They are socially backward, educationally backward, economically backward, now what is political empowerment? I'm asking Mr. Sidhu that I come from Maharashtra, there are 48 seats and how many seats have the Congress given them for the Lok Sabha? Don't you feel that Muslims require empowerment politically?"
"They have been used as the vote-bank for Congress for so long and Maneka Gandhi says if Muslims don't vote for me, I will not vote for them but madam you have taken the oath of the Constitution and you are a sixth time MP. You have to work for the constituency you cannot give a threat. This is a direct threat that they are giving to the community and I don't know why the Election Commission is not taking a note of it, why no action is taken against them. Now Sidhu wants 65% of the votes, what have they done for the betterment? I tell you they don't have any agenda," he added.
Pathan furthermore accused the likes of Navjot Singh Sidhu and other politicians of disrespecting the guidelines set by the Election Commission, and called out the Congress party of polarising because 'they have nothing to say about development'
He said, "This is not taking the EC seriously, they know the Model Code of Conduct is in process, there are Supreme Court guidelines, Election Commission has issued guidelines that you can't issue votes in the name of elections. That is why I say they have no respect for the Constitution, no respect for the Election Commission. The Election Commission must make note of it and stop people from making such statements. They have nothing to say about development or what is their agenda."
"They don't have any agenda for development, for the country's infrastructure, for providing security to people that is why they are playing the communal card and going to the society in the name of religion," he added.
In a last-ditch attempt to secure votes, senior Congress leader accusing AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi of dividing Muslim votes appealed to the community to vote for his party.
"Muslim brother, people like Owaisi want to win by dividing the Muslim vote here. 64% is your (Muslim) population is in majority here and if you will get together and cast your votes, then Modi will be finished," said Sidhu in a public rally in Purnia on Tuesday.
Taking cognisance of the communal ploy, the Election Commission called out and imposed a campaigning ban on BSP supremo Mayawati for 48 hours, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi for 48 hours, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and senior SP leader Azam Khan for both 72 hours.