Criticising the meeting between Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari, BJP spokesman M J Akbar today attacked her for "politics of the 19th century" and dubbed the religious leader a middleman of the ruling party.
"Sonia Gandhi is doing politics of 19th century with the people of 21st century. She is just treating Muslims as a commodity. Please stop purchasing a community with the help of a middleman who has lost credibility," Akbar told reporters here.
He was referring to the meeting between a delegation of Muslim leaders led by Bukhari and Gandhi this week during which she had reportedly asked them to ensure that secular votes did not split in the Lok Sabha elections.
"In the last 10 years, Muslims have not got any jobs, any development. Instead of jobs, the Congress is giving hot air and old rotten politics to Muslims. Please stop treating my community like this.
"Do not drop them into a basket of fear. Treat them as Indians. Treat them with equality in status," Akbar said.
The former Congress MP alleged that the UPA government had decided to set up a special development fund for 90 "minority heavy districts" in the country, but did not spend a single paisa for three years.
Akbar claimed that Muslims under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi would have better development than under the UPA.
Speaking about Gujarat, Akbar said Muslims enjoyed equal status statistically compared to states like West Bengal.
"In West Bengal, the Muslim comprise 28 per cent of the total population and they are in only 2 per cent of government jobs. However in Gujarat, Muslim population is just 9 per cent and they are in more than 5 per cent of the total government jobs," he added.
That the number of applicants to Haj was more from Gujarat was a testimony to better economic conditions in the state, he claimed.
"After 10 years of crime, corruption, helplessness and joblessness, we are looking for the next 10 years of prosperity, jobs and development under Modi... It is time to bring confidence back on the engine of youth in India," the senior journalist said.
On the issue of Gujarat riots, Akbar said it should be considered a "closed chapter" as "intense scrutiny of Modi in the last 10 years could not hold him guilty personally".
Asked about China's construction of big dams over Brahmaputra on their side, he said, "Any