Salman Rushdie in Delhi, targets Congress
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Last Updated: Saturday, March 17, 2012, 22:36
New Delhi: In India two months after being forced to skip Jaipur Literary Festival, controversial author Salman Rushdie on Saturday hit out a Congress, suggesting that his presence there was blocked because of "useless electoral calculations" and told Rahul Gandhi that "it did not work".

The renowed author, who has been castigated by fundamentalist Muslim groups for his book 'The Satanic Verses', said blocking his presence in Jaipur "led the Congress party down the road" in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Participating in India Today Conclave, he said the India "deserves to be led by better leaders than is being now".

Referring to the controversy which surrounded the Jaipur Festival in January which forced him to skip the event, he said, "What happened there is not Deobandi bigotry... It was pretty useless electoral calculations. It did not work, Rahul (Gandhi)."

He suggested that this "led to the debacle" of Congress in Uttar Pradesh.

"Indian electorate is smarter than these politicians... People can be whipped as in Jaipur Literary Festival," Rushdie said, adding 95 per cent of Muslims are not interested in violence and that would be true for Hindus too.

He spoke further at a session with the theme 'Liberty versus: I am what I am and that's all that I am'.

The author had in January had asserted that he would come to India whenever his busy schedule permits without allowing "these religious gangsters and their cronies in the government to stop me" and asked the government to "deal with it".

His presence at the Conclave had prompted Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan to pull out of the event.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party chief Khan had said that he "could not even think of participating in any programme that included Salman Rushdie, who has caused immeasurable hurt to Muslims across the globe."

Anticipating protests, security was strengthened in and out of the five-star hotel.


First Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012, 22:25

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