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Muslims, SCs, STs voted for BJP in assembly polls: Advani

To shed its image of being a Hindutva and upper caste party, BJP on Sunday said it had got support of Muslims, SC and ST communities in the recent Assembly elections even as it noted that it did not believe in vote bank politics and minority appeasement.

In his valedictory address at the BJP national council meet here, BJP patriarch L  Advani said the ‘Muslim community’ has lost confidence in Congress and his party has a big support among them.

‘Muslims have seen how successive governments have done nothing for them. They have only been used (as vote bank),’ he said.

Advani said BJP believed in integral humanisn which did not discriminate between people on basis of religion and wanted development of all.

‘In this there is no relevance of minority-majority,’ he said.

Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu cited data to insist that his party is winning support of Muslims as well. At the same time, he argued that Muslim support for Congress is fast dwindling.

‘All the minority candidates of Congress in Rajasthan lost. BJP achieved 50 per cent success. Congress had fielded 16 Muslim candidates in the state and none of them won while BJP fielded four Muslim candidates of whom two won,’ he said.

The party also claimed to have got votes of Muslims in Madhya Pradesh.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had alleged that BJP is a communal party which seeks to divide the country.

Advani, who had initially opposed naming of Narendra Modi as PM candidate, showered praise on him but cautioned against ‘over confidence’ which had spoiled the party’s chance of retaining power in 2004.

‘I have not seen so much enthusiasm and self confidence, I congratulate party president Rajnath Singh and other colleagues who decided that we will make Narendra Modi as the PM after we get the majority in these elections,’ Advani said while addressing the party National Council here.

Applauding the election campaign which has been going on for the past five-six months led by Modi, he said he had not seen any other politician address so many ‘massive rallies’.

He noted that Modi has already addressed 77 rallies and 100 will be completed soon.

At the same time, he had a word of caution.

‘We lost 2004 elections because we had become over confident. This Lok Sabha elections, we have to ensure that we do not become over confident and fight the elections with only with confidence,’ the former deputy prime minister said.

He praised Modi for his track record in governance in Gujarat as well as the crowds his rallies attract.

‘There are many achievements of Gujarat for which everybody including its chief minister Narendra Modi can be proud of. But the way the water of Narmada was brought to Sabarmati river, it (achievement) was given such a spectacular dimension... I want to congratulate Modi for that,’ Advani said.

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