Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday reached out to the substantial number of Muslim voters in Kadapa district, by invoking memories of the post-Godhra carnage. In his day-long road show in Kadapa and Kurnool districts, he targeted the NDA government as ‘anti-minority.’
Accompanied by former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister and MP Farooq Abdullah, considered a pan-Indian Muslim face, Mr. Naidu tried to wipe away the wrath, if any, he had incurred by being part of the ruling dispensation till recently. Having fielded a Muslim party worker Ameer Babu in the Kadapa Assembly constituency, Mr. Naidu promised a college for Imam training and a 50 sq. yard room for performing ‘namaz’.
He also offered to rename the Almaspet Circle after Tipu Sultan and develop the famed Ameen Peer dargah as a tourist attraction.
Terming the airstrike on Pakistan and raking up of the Ram Mandir issues as NDA’s ‘pre-election stunts’, Mr. Abdullah said present day India was not the truly pluralistic one envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi.
Mr. Naidu said Muslims were increasingly feeling insecure after the BJP-led NDA came to power. He flayed the growing intolerance on individual food habits, shrinking personal space for religion and increased vulnerability in the name of the Triple Talaq Bill.
“When 2,500 Muslims were killed in Godhra, the TDP was the first party to raise it with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and I was the first to demand the dismissal of the Modi government in Gujarat. That is the reason behind his vengeance over me and my State,” he said.
Terming the ‘tacit nexus’ between the YSRC and the TRS as ‘unholy’, Mr. Naidu said the people would never back any ‘traitor’ supporting the TRS, which “had publicly shamed Andhras ahead of the bifurcation and shunted us out.”