Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Friday asked Muslims in Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh to vote for her, failing which she would not consider their requests for jobs "when elected", after which the Congress demanded the cancellation of her nomination as a BJP candidate.
Maneka Gandhi was issued a show-cause notice by Sultanpur's District Magistrate as the Election Commission took congnizance of the matter and asked her to explain her remarks. Her speech went viral on social media and caused outrage for its communal content.
In comments loaded with warning, she said at a gathering of Muslims that she was "not Mahatma Gandhi's child" and that providing jobs was "saude baazi" (give and take).
"Mai jeet rahi hun, logo ki madad se jeet rahi hun. Lekin agar meri jeet, musalmaano ke bina hogi, to mujhe bahut acha nahi lagega. Kyunki itna mai batati hun, ki dil khatta ho jaata hai. Fir jab musalmaan aata hai kaam ke liye, fir mai sochti hun, rehne do, kya farak padta hai. Naukri saude baazi hi to hoti hai. (I am going to win with the help of people. But if I win without the support of Muslims, then I won't like it much. Because you feel bad. And then when Muslims come for jobs, I will say leave it, it makes no difference)," Maneka Gandhi told the gathering.
"Yeh aapko pehchaan na padega. Yeh jeet aapke bina bhi hogi, aapke saath bhi hogi. Aur yeh cheez aapko sab jagah fehlani padegi. (You will need to understand that this victory will come without you, or with you. You will need to spread this)," she said in Turab Khani village.
"Yeh nahi ki hum sab Mahatma Gandhi ki chhati hui aulad hain, ki hum dete hi jayenge, dete hi jayenge aur fir election mei maar khaate hi jayenge. (It is not that we are children of Mahatma Gandhi that we will only keep giving and get beaten in the elections)," the Minister added in her three-minute speech.
Talking about her stint as MP from Pilibhit, she asked the gathering to find out what kind of work she had done there.
"Agar aapko kahin lage ki humse koi gustaakhi hui, toh humko vote mat dena .Lekin agar aapko lage ki hum khule dil ke sath aaye hain, ki aapko kal meri zarurat padegi.. Yeh election toh mai paar kar chuki hun. Ab aapko meri zarurat padegi. Aapko zarurat ke liye neev dalna hai, to yeh hai who waqt. (If you think that we made some mistake, then don't vote for us. But if you feel, we have come with an open heart, that tomorrow you will need me... I have already won this election and now you will need me. You will need to lay the foundation for a meeting of your needs)," Maneka Gandhi said.
She added: "Jab polling booth ka result ayega, aur uss polling booth mei 100 vote niklenge ya 50 vote niklenge aur uske baad jab aap kaam ke liye ayenge, toh wahi hoga aapke sath. (Once the result comes from the polling booth, and 100 or 50 votes come out, then after that the same thing will happen with you)."
Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala slammed Maneka Gandhi and said his party had asked the Election Commission to ensure that such candidates, "who are contesting on the basis of caste or religion", are not allowed to be in the electoral fray any more.
After the controversy erupted, the Minister told reporters that her speech was "laced with love" and that a mountain had been created out of a molehill.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)