New Delhi: The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today sparred over Rajnath Singh's meeting with Muslim clerics in Lucknow, with the ruling party accusing the BJP of "double-speak" and the opposition party hitting back.
Attempting to reach out to the Muslim community, Singh met some prominent Muslim religious leaders in the UP capital, from where he is fighting the Lok Sabha election, on Monday.
"Congress wants to ask BJP if the Shahi Imam comes to Congress President's residence it is communalism, then what they would call when the BJP chief goes to Muslim clerics and makes promises to them. Is it not communalism?" Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken asked.
Gandhi's meeting with the Shahi Imam invited a strong reaction from BJP with prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi leading the attack. Modi accused her of spreading the "poison of communalism" in election time.
"It shows BJP's double-speak, double-face and dual character," Maken said.
Rejecting the Congress' charge, BJP said Singh had met them like he had been meeting other groups of people and did not ask them to make a political appeal for him or the party as Gandhi had "done" in her meeting with the Imam Bukhari.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Singh's meeting could not be equated with Gandhi's."She met a delegation of Muslims clerics led by the Shahi Imam and appealed to him that Muslim votes should not split. Seeking votes in the name of religion is wrong. Rajnath has done nothing wrong. Every candidate meets people in their constituency," he said.