Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today met Muslim intellectuals and is believed to have told them that his party would adopt an inclusive approach for all sections of society with an agenda to provide justice to all, allaying their fears that it was adopting a 'soft-Hindutva' agenda.
Gandhi met the intellectuals at his Tughlaq road residence here and told them that the Congress had no specific agenda for any particular religion or section. It would have an 'agenda for all', the crux of which would be providing justice, a source said.
He told them that the party would not compromise on its core ideology and would not allow injustice to anyone.
Gandhi said that while the BJP's thought process was of division, the thought process of the Congress was of inclusiveness as it had to take everyone along, the source said.
The meeting with Muslim intellectuals was part of a series of meetings planned by the party ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
The intellectuals told Gandhi that the community was feeling threatened and asked what agenda the Congress had for them, as the party was now adopting a 'soft-Hindutva' card to win back Hindus which had shifted towards the BJP in the last elections.
They also sought assurance from the Congress to keep the commitment given by Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad and Jawaharlal Nehru at the time of Independence and the Constitution had empowered them, the source said.
Gandhi told them there was no ideological battle in the country but it was a "new system of power politics" devised by the BJP to create a divide among people, the source added.
He said the narrative the BJP was building, including lynchings and beating up of Dalits and Muslims, was to create a divide among people as the ruling party and the prime minister had nothing to show, so it was trying to divert the attention of people on emotional issues.
On a grand alliance being spearheaded by the Congress for the 2019 general elections, Gandhi said the effort was to have a lasting alliance that would not disintegrate as it would lead to disenchantment among the people supporting it.
The alternative should be sustainable and long lasting and should not be a casual one, so that the trust was not broken, Gandhi told the meeting, the sources said.
The party, however, downplayed the meeting saying the Congress believed in development for all, inclusion of all and equality for all.
She said the party was not going by religious credentials and the Congress leaders had interacted with all sections of people, including intellectuals, and it should not be connected with any religion.
Chaturvedi accused the BJP of trying to divide people on the basis of religion.
Among the intellectuals from the minority community who met Gandhi today were former planning commission member Syeda Hameed, JNU professor Zoya Hasan, former president of Aligarh Muslim University Z K Faizan, educationist Ilyas Malik
Zafar Mehmood and retired bureaucrat A F Faruqui.
Sources said this meeting would be followed by more such interactions to elicit public responses on the way forward.
The BJP was trying to create a wedge among the members of the community by flagging controversial issues including the triple talaq issues, Chaturvedi alleged.
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