Things will turn sour, Maneka Gandhi warns Muslims; Election Officer issues notice

"..If my victory is without Muslims, I won’t feel that good. 'Dil khatta ho jayega' [heart will become hard]," the Union Minister says in a widely circulated video.

April 12, 2019 03:48 pm | Updated April 13, 2019 09:10 am IST - Ghaziabad

NEW DELHI, 06/06/2018: Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, addressing a press conference on 48 months of Achievements and Initiatives and completion of four years of Narendra Modi government, in New Delhi on June 06, 2018. 
Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

NEW DELHI, 06/06/2018: Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, addressing a press conference on 48 months of Achievements and Initiatives and completion of four years of Narendra Modi government, in New Delhi on June 06, 2018. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Friday set off a political storm when a video clip went viral on social media, showing her telling Muslims that if they did not vote for her, she might not be responsive to their requests later.

“I am winning... But if my victory is without support from Muslims, I won’t feel that good. Dil khatta ho jayega (heart will become sour). Then when a Muslim comes to me for work, I think let it be, how does it matter?” Ms. Gandhi said at a rally in Turabh Khani.

The District Election Officer has since served notice on Ms. Gandhi, giving her three days to respond. The six-time BJP MP is contesting from Sultanpur in U.P.

“It is all give and take, a negotiation, isn’t it? We are not all children of Mahatma Gandhi, are we?” Ms. Gandhi is heard saying at the rally.

“I have already won the election but you will need me. This is your chance to lay the foundation. When the election comes and this booth throws up 100 votes or 50 votes, and then you come to me for work, we will see… do you all understand,” Ms. Gandhi said.

The Minister’s speech comes just days after the Election Commission issued a notice to Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati following a complaint from the BJP that she had sought Muslim votes during the mahagathbandhan ’s rally in Deoband.

Furore on Twitter

The veiled threat in the speech evoked strong condemnation across the board from social media.

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha in a series of tweets, condemned the Minister, saying: “Scandal! Naukri ek sauda hai (employment is a bargain)#BJPS # Maneka Gandhi. Dear Demographic Dividend India, now you know why India has an unemployment jobs crisis. For #BJP providing jobs is a commercial deal; you have to help them first to get a job. A quid pro quo. It is a barter, give & take.”

‘EC looking away’

Congress supporter and political analyst Tehseen Poonawala tweeted: “From Amit Shah ji to Maneka Gandhi maám, Muslims are being threatened openly by the BJP. Never before in the history of independent India and her elections has this happened and the Election Commission of India continues to look away and not act.”

Actor Swara Bhaskar tweeted, “Literally Sick. Is Maneka Gandhi threatening Muslims? Isn’t this unconstitutional? And criminal? She is admitting that she will abuse her power soon as she in office! @ECISVEEP This must violate something! ”

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