NEW DELHI: Dressed in a saffron robe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited a holy cave near revered Kedarnath shrine to meditate. The repeatedly flashing images of his image paying obeisance at the holy shrine by TV channels is an attempt to highlight the PM’s religion amid the last and seven phase of polling in the general elections
When The Telegraph reached 65-year-old Haji Mohammad Mohsin, he declined to comment.
“Modiji and his party have always used religion for political gain,” was all he would say.
Suggesting a split verdict and rule by an Opposition coalition, he said: “Sarkar kisi ki nahi banegi, banani padegi (A government won’t form by itself this time, it will have to be formed).”
Highlighting how the demonetisation and the GST had hit Banarasi silk sari traders like him, he added that, “This is not about Muslims alone; the entire country is suffering and this will reflect in the results.”
Despite having some fundamental differences with the BJP, a large number of people from the minority community welcomed Modi in Madanpura and Shivala during his road show by showering flowers on him.
“We may not vote for the BJP but welcomed Modi when he passed this way because he is the Prime Minister of the country,” Meraj, 42, like Mohsin a resident of Shivala, said.
“We had set up stalls to provide water to the people participating in his road show. But what did we get in return? The BJP workers taking part in the road show chanted abusive slogans against us that were so bad that I can’t bring them to my lips.”
“Would you vote for the BJP if you were in my shoes?” asked Meraj.
Flashing an angry look, Satya Prakash, an RSS cadre manning a polling booth near the Dashashwamedh Ghat said, “What’s wrong with it? He is a Hindu,” on being asked whether it was proper for the PM to publicise his religious identity on polling day. “Why are no questions raised when fatwas are issued from mosques to vote for some or other party?” he said.
“What’s wrong with it? He is a Hindu,” he said. “Why are no questions raised when fatwas are issued from mosques to vote for some or other party?”
Prakash was confident that Modi would win Varanasi by a record margin and BJP by securing a majority on its own.