Although Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi carried out a year-long Sadbhavana Yatra to reach out to the state's Muslim community, the fact is that no member from this minority group got a ticket to fight the polls under the BJP banner this year.
"Sadbhavana Yatra was meant for the development of six crore Gujaratis. It was not for a particular community. We don't look at it like that.It was for all," said BJP spokesperson Jai Narayan Vyas in a CNN-IBN programme India@9.
Denying that the absence of a Muslim candidate from the BJP list signifies that the party has no faith in them, Vyas said, "It is simply a matter of social engineering."
However, Congress leader Amiben Yagnik, did not accept the BJP logic on face value.
"Sadbhavana is not the actual picture. Muslims are still given a different kind of treatment even in giving them basic facilities like drinking water and drainage," Yagnik said, while trying to show that BJP's claim of an inclusive growth is a travesty of truth.
The number of Muslim candidates on the Congress list has also come down. It was seven in 2007. The current Gujarat Assembly has four Muslim lawmakers.
The ruling party has not fielded a single Muslim candidate since 1995. Even though, there is a general feeling that Muslims want to move on from the black days of 2002, only time will tell how much the political parties and society at large will help them out.
The state votes on 13 and 17 December. The counting is scheduled on 20 December.
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Updated Date: Dec 04, 2012 12:15:58 IST