(Image source from: Will India's Muslims forgive Narendra Modi})
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is out to woo the muslim voters to brighten his prospects in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Modi's Lucknow rally on Sunday was attended by thousands of Hindu supporters, but the Gujarat chief minister was appealing for muslim votes.
During the rally, Modi stated that the economic policies in his state has enabled Muslims in Gujarat to be better off, than in the rest of India.
The BJP leader attacked the Akhilesh Yadav government, which has a sizeable Muslim population and relies on its supporters, but has poor development record. Modi stated that the BJP is an advocate of economic development, while the Uttar Pradesh government is dabbling in vote-bank politics, by letting Muslims continue to remain poor.
Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state when the Gujarat carnage of 2002 led to the massacre of over 1200 people, mostly Muslim people, in post-Godhra riots. He has been constantly accused of not doing enough to save the life of innocent people. However, a Supreme Court inquiry has given a clean chit to Modi due to lack of evidence.
Owing to this past history, Muslims are wary of Narendra Modi. Infact Muslim leaders in India have openly stated that they would not forgive or forget Modi's role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Narendra Modi's mercurial rise in politics has resulted from demonizing Muslims in India, said Shakeel Ahmad, chairman of the Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat. Last year during an interview Ahmad said that Modi's survival in politics is based on hatred.
Muslims in Uttar Pradesh will not vote for Modi, said Syed Husain Afsar, editor of a Lucknow-based Muslim-oriented news website. People know that Modi is not a secular leader, his appeal to the Muslims is just an election tactic.
However, the fact remains that Modi is the chief minister of Gujarat that is among the strongest states economically in India. He has presided his state towards economic prosperity and has promished to bring similar development to the rest of india. This aspect may draw in a large number of voters towards Modi, especially the younger generation who are in the look-out for employment avenues.
There is no doubt that Modi is a good leader, but the fact remains that Modi was unable to stop the killing of over 1200 people. If he failed in preventing his own ministers in Gujarat, what is the guarantee that he may be able to prevent a recurrence of such an event as the prime minister of India.
AW: Pratima Tigga