In a controversial remark, Union minister Maneka Gandhi has told Muslims to vote for her as they will need her once the Lok Sabha elections are over.
We are not Mahatma Gandhi’s children that we keep giving and not get anything in return, she said in Sultanpur’s Muslim-dominated Turabkhani area on Thursday.
District poll authorities issued her with a show cause notice. The Election Commission in Delhi is also examining the transcript of the minister’s speech, which was condemned by the Congress.
Maneka Gandhi, the BJP candidate from Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency, claimed she is all set to win and told the Muslim audience that you might need me tomorrow.
I am winning. I am winning because of the help and love of the people, Gandhi said at the meeting in the constituency earlier held by her son Varun Gandhi.
But if my victory is without the Muslims, I will not feel very good, she said, adding she will be left with a bitter feeling.
If Muslims come for some work after this, I will think why bother, what difference will it make.
Suggesting that it was matter of give and take, she added, We are not Mahatma Gandhi’s children to keep giving without getting anything in return.
The minister asked them to check with the people in Pilibhit, her earlier constituency.
If there is even one person who says there had been something wrong on my part, don’t vote for me, she said.
Gandhi said she had come with an open mind and they may feel that they might need me tomorrow.
This election I have already won, and you will need me and want to lay the foundation for this,” she said.
She also asked people to pass on this message to others.
The Congress reacted strongly with its spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala saying the Bharatiya Janata Party leader is trying to divide people on the basis of caste and community.
The party approached the Election Commission in Delhi and handed over a memoranda on a host of issues, including Gandhi’s remarks.
Sources in the UP election office said she will have to respond to the notice sent by the district poll authorities within three days.
They cited paragraph 1 the model code of conduct that forbids parties and candidates from indulging in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic”.
Maneka Gandhi’s remarks follow other controversial references to the Muslim electorate during the Uttar Pradesh campaign.
At her recent election meeting in Saharanpur’s Deoband, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati asked Muslims to support her alliance with the Samajwadi Party, instead of splitting their vote by opting for the Congress.
In a rejoinder to this remark, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath brought up the controversial Ali-Bajrang Bali reference at an election rally.
“If the Congress, the SP and the BSP have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrang Bali,” Aditynath said.
Lord Hanuman is called Bajrang Bali while Ali is a revered figure in Islam.
The Election Commission sent Adityanath and Mayawati notices on what could be violations of the model code of conduct.
The poll code came into force on March 10 when the Lok Sabha polls were announced.