Amid increasing criticism of Shazia Ilmi’s controversial remarks, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said she chose the wrong words and did not mean to trigger hatred among communities for electoral benefit.
He, however, condemned the use of such words by his party colleague who has come under attack by almost all parties.
“As per the Election Commission, the communal word is defined as somebody trying to instigate hatred among two communities. If there was any indication of Shazia doing that, she would have been ousted from the party. Her use of words was not proper. We condemn that. She wanted to say that you people (Muslims) become selfish for education and future of your children. We disapprove of the use of words by her,” the AAP leader said.
Ms. Ilmi had found herself at the centre of a controversy on Tuesday over her remarks that Muslims should become “communal” for their own good when they vote this time and not be “too secular”.
“Don’t be much secular. Muslims are too secular and they should become communal. They are not communal and do not vote for themselves. Arvind Kejriwal is ours. Muslims have remained secular for long....have voted for the Congress and helped them win. Don’t be so secular and look at your house (community) this time. Other parties have their votebank intact and Muslim votes split. This is a controversial statement, but we should look at our own interest,” Ms. Ilmi had said in a video that surfaced on Tuesday.
She had on Wednesday sought to defend herself, saying the remarks made had been picked up from a casual conversation and her tone and tenor was ironic.
“This comment has been picked up from a casual conversation and in an informal setting. It is quite clear from the tone and tenor of the comment that I am using the term secular and communal in an ironic manner,” she said.
Ms. Ilmi said that her statement was being distorted and misconstrued.