Navjot Singh Sidhu does a Mayawati in Bihar, asks Muslims to unite to ensure Congress victory

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New Delhi | Published: April 16, 2019 2:56:31 PM

It was this offence which had led to the poll panel placing a campaign ban on Mayawati, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath as well as Union minister Maneka Gandhi for varying periods.

lok sabha election 2019, navjot singh sidhu, bihar, katihar phase 2, congress muslims, nda, grand alliance (Image source: Navjot Singh Sidhu/Facebook)

Punjab minister and controversial Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has called upon Muslims to stay united in the face of a divisive campaign being run by the Bharatiya Janata Party to ensure victory for the grand old party. The Congress leader’s remarks, made during an election rally in Bihar’s Katihar, came close on the heels of the Election Commission barring Mayawati from campaigning for 48 hours over a similar appeal. Addressing a rally in Deoband recently, Mayawati asked Muslim voters to not get carried away and ensure that their vote goes to her Mahagathbandhan.

Addressing a rally in the Balrampur assembly segment in Katihar Lok Sabha constituency, Sidhu referred to Muslims as the majority community in the region and said they must stay united and vote to ensure victory for the Congress.

“There is politics of division on the basis of caste that is underway here. I am here to tell you just this. Your region is one where you (Muslims ) are a majority and not a minority. Your supremacy here is of 62%. BJP conspirators will try to divide you. But no force in the world can beat the Congress if you stay united.”

Sidhu’s direct appeal to Muslims comes days after Mayawati made a similar pitch in Uttar Pradesh’s Deoband and paid with consequences. The Model Code of Conduct bars candidates from seeking votes on communal or religious lines.

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It was this offence which had led to the poll panel placing a campaign ban on Mayawati, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath as well as Union minister Maneka Gandhi for varying periods.

Sidhu is no stranger to controversy himself. His visit to Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of close friend Imran Khan and his hug to the Pakistan army chief Qamar Bajwa stirred a massive row in India. He has also received brickbats from the BJP and the Akali Dal for his alleged “pro-Pakistan” stand and batting for dialogue with India’s troubled Islamic neighbour.

Sidhu is among the Congress party’s star campaigners and set upon a 40-day campaign across the country starting April 10. In Bihar, the Congress party is contesting polls in an alliance with the RJD, the RLSP, HAM and VVIP. Polling in Katihar where Sidhu campaigned is scheduled for April 18 in the second phase. Tariq Anwar from the Grand Alliance is up against Dulal Chandra Goswami of the Janata Dal (United), which is part of the NDA in Bihar.

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