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Madani remark: Is Modi desperate for Muslim support?

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Delhi: Does Narendra Modi have a serious acceptability problem? He might not think so, but many in the media certainly do. The unholy excitement over the remark of Mehmood Madani, general secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, on the Congress makes that evident. Let’s begin with deconstructing Madani from his several remarks in the past. Here are the excerpts from separate statements from him made in a space of one month. Mehmood Madani.
IBNLive image Mehmood Madani. IBNLive image September 16: “It is wrong to expect from Muslims to forgive culprits and forget what happened in Gujarat. How can we forget the wounds? There has not been any effort from that side to reach out to the victims or heal their wounds…It’s not for Muslims to decide what kind of relations they should have with Modi.

It’s for him to discharge his duties. What we are hearing is that they don’t need us. We have no expectations from him.” October 15: “The Muslim community should not be scared. Secularism is deep-rooted in the country…(the) Congress should not try to get Muslim votes by creating fear about an individual. The party should look at possibilities of community welfare which they not carried out so far.” Still earlier, in February this year he had said this: “Muslims in Gujarat are economically better off than in several states with secular governments. Many states headed by so-called secular governments have worse human rights record than Gujarat.

These states don’t have a Modi.” In the same interview to a television channel he also said: “There cannot be development without justice. The culprits in 2002 riot victims must be punished.” Is there a hint of inconsistency in his different remarks on Modi, Gujarat and secularism? Is it time to ask who the real Madani is? Not really, if you listen to him carefully and grasp what he seeks to convey in all his utterances. In a rare departure from other leaders of the community, he openly acknowledges the problems with the Muslim community.

He says Muslims have been exploited for political ends by parties. While he appears to be no great fan of the BJP or Modi, he displays no love for the secular parties either. He exhorts members of his community to extricate themselves from political allegiances and be flexible enough to back the party that delivers for them. In his Jaipur speech, yesterday he was demanding job reservation for the community. In his September remark, he had asked the government to treat communalists on par with the terrorists as incidents like Muzaffarnagar riots had the potential of radicalising the youngsters in all communities. Madani appears to be a sensible leader, unlike others who would like their community members to stay grooved in fear psychosis and ghetto mentality, insulated from any idea of change.

One is still unclear where he stands, after all he is a politician and thus capable of being elastic in his beliefs, but why make him a hero only for his alleged appreciation for Narendra Modi? He has gone on record denying that he endorsed Modi in any way in Jaipur, but it is obvious not many in the media are prepared to buy that.

Clarification kills a good story. And what happens to all his constructive suggestions and his views on the strength of India’s secularism? The media’s reactions provokes obvious questions and exposes some hidden biases. Does the issue of Indian Muslims need to be seen through the majoritarian prism?
Must salvation for the community come through their support to political Hindutva? While discussing radicalisation of the Muslim youth are we supposed to turn a blind eye to Hindu organisations entirely devoted to spreading communal acrimony?

Why nobody cares when someone like Madani takes a clear position on the radicalisation of youth or the miserable economic condition of the Muslims? The problem with the approach is it reflects the deep fear in certain sections of the media that Modi is still unacceptable to a large number of people in the country, including Hindus, and the endorsement of his goodness can come only from Muslims.

If he is a cleric, it is better. So quotes have to be cherry-picked to construct a good story about Modi. They should be careful. The desperation shows

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