Ahmedbad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's ‘sadbhavna’ fast to promote “peace, harmony and unity” hit controversy after he reportedly refused to wear a prayer cap offered by a group of imams (Muslim religious leaders).
The incident occurred on the second day of his fast, yesterday, when the imams came on to the dais to greet him and in between one of them wanted to make Modi wear the cap. The Chief Minister was seen politely refusing the offer, after which the imam offered him his shawl, which Modi accepted.
Congress was quick to comment, with the party saying “this laid threadbare Modi’s real face”.
Talking to reporters, Sayed Imam Shahi Saiyed, the cleric who offered the cap said, "Modi's refusal to accept the cap is not my insult but an insult of Islam."
"When I offered him the cap he told me that he would not wear it. He might have thought that wearing a skull cap will dent his image...," the cleric said.
“Topi ibadat ke liye pehna jata hai. Iska siyasi istemaal sahi nehin hai (Cap is a holy religious symbol, it should not be mixed with politics),” said BJP national spokesperson and party’s prominent Muslim face Shahnawaz Hussain said speaking to Zee News.
“Modi as a leader is acceptable across religions. There is no point linking a particular religious symbol with Modi and playing politics over it,” another BJP leader observed.
Speaking on the Day-2 of his fast Chief Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that his fast is not aimed at wooing "any particular community or religion".
"Sadbhavna Mission is not about any particular community or religion. It is about the people of Gujarat. Gujarat's progress has shown the way forward," Modi said, flanked by top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
"The mission is to unite, not divide. Gujarat is my family, the six crore Gujaratis' happiness and grief, dreams and aspirations are mine," he asserted.
First Published: Monday, September 19, 2011, 15:15