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Narendra Modi goes all out to woo minorities before Assembly polls

'Lies' have been spread that BJP is a party of only upper caste Hindus and that it was anti-minority, Modi said at a meeting organised by the party's Minority Cell.

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Claiming that Muslims in BJP- ruled Gujarat are better off than those in other states, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said minorities have been equal beneficiaries of development taking place in the state which does not practice policy of appeasement.

"Lies" have been spread that BJP is a party of only upper caste Hindus and that it was anti-minority, he said at a meeting organised by the party's Minority Cell.

In his bid to wean away Muslim voters from Congress fold in the election year, Modi is making efforts that include experimenting social engineering and even shedding his saffron persona to woo the community.

The party today organised a meeting of its Minority Cell to chalk out a strategy to attract Muslims towards BJP.

This is for the first time that Gujarat BJP has got together to chalk out a plan to woo Muslims under Modi, who has been accused of complicity in the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

"I know it would be difficult for you to go among Muslims and ask them to vote for BJP as lies have been spread about BJP being a party of upper caste Hindus, that it is anti -minority and anti-women," Modi said, addressing more than 400 workers of Minority Cell here.

BJP national spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was also present at the meet.

"But my Government has worked for the development of all sections of the society without any bias towards any community. Fruits of development have reached every community in the state," Modi said. "The real rajdharma is development of all citizens of the state."

Coming down heavily on Congress, he said the party's vote bank politics has severely damaged the interests of minorities. "That party's policies on minority appeasement have only resulted in saving chairs of some leaders but on the whole it has worked to divide societies in the country." (More) PTI PD RSY ZMN 05302146

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Gujarat has been leading in the implementation of 20- point programme for the poor. Maximum beneficiaries under the programme are people from minority communities, Modi said.

He further said the per head average income of Muslims in Gujarat at Rs 875 was higher than the national average of 804. Rate of literacy among Muslims in Gujarat is also very high compared to the national average.

In the last 10 years, the Gujarat government had spent Rs 140 crore on scholarships to 63 lakh Muslim students, the BJP leader said.

In Gujarat, there are 9 per cent Muslims in government jobs, which is equal to the community's share in the state's total population, he maintained.

Two Muslim-dominated districts - Kutch and Bharuch - are developing at a very rapid rate, Modi stated.

Armed with these facts it would be easier for Minority Cell members to go among the Muslims and turn them towards BJP, he said. PTI PD RSY ZMN 05302226 NNNN

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