Noted poet and Bollywood lyricist Javed Ahktar on Tuesday disapproved of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu urging Muslims to unite and vote against the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asserting that a mind occupied with ones religious identity can never make an informed political choice.
Addressing an election meeting at Begusarai (Bihar), Akhtar who did not mention the Punjab minister by name but dropped ample hints to suggest that he was speaking about the former test cricketer said I do not expect much from them (BJP) who believe in mixing politics with religion. But you cannot speak this language when you are swearing by secularism.
Sidhu, who made the remarks earlier this month at a rally in Katihar, has been banned for 72 hours by the Election Commission of India as a punitive measure.
Akhtar, who was here to campaign in favour of CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, said we must keep it in mind that wherever religion is mixed with politics, human rights and civil liberties become the first casualty. Look at any part of the world the Middle East, Europe or Latin America and you would find a similar trend.
Taking a dig at Giriraj Singh, who is the BJP candidate from here, he said this gentleman asks all those who are opposed to Modi to go to Pakistan. In 2014, when Modis popularity was at its peak, 31 per cent had voted for him which means even then 69 per cent of Indians were against him.
If Giriraj Singhs advice is taken seriously by such Indians, Pakistans population would rise manifold and people will not find enough space on its soil to stand.
He also said Kanhaiya, a former JNU students union president who is facing a sedition charge, is paying the price for standing up for truth and asked voters of Begusarai if you are thinking of not voting for the young man, vote for Giriraj instead of wasting your vote on Tanveer Hassan (RJD candidate).
Say Assalam Aleikum (the Islamic form of greeting) to Giriraj and tell him you are voting for him. That way he would at least be grateful to you. If you vote for Tanveer, he will win any way. But he would not give you any credit for that either, said Akhtar at the meeting where academician-turned-political activist Yogendra Yadav was among those present.