Rameshwaram: Asking Muslims to be mindful about whom they vote in Tamil Nadu polls, former president APJ Abdul Kalam's grandnephew Sheik Saleem has reminded them that it was the BJP that made him the president, implicitly suggesting that they should vote for the saffron camp.
"Had it not been for the BJP, Kalam wouldn't have been the president. Muslims of Tamil Nadu need to know who backs them and who uses them," the Times of India quoted Saleem as saying.
APJMJ Sheik Saleem, Kalam's grandnephew, has emerged as an “indefatigable campaigner” for the party in the TN polls, the report said.
Saleem also said that his family and well-wishers of Kalam want to celebrate his grandfather APJ Marakaiyer, late Kalam's brother, 100th birth anniversary in a grand manner.
"Kalam thatha (grandfather) had told the Meghalaya governor that he wanted to celebrate his elder brother's birthday in a grand way. In a way that was his last wish. We are preparing for that," Saleem was quoted as saying.
He said that the family is also embroiled in a bitter fight with Kalam's adviser V Ponraj, who sought to float a party in the former president's name.
“The family wants to protect his wish to not be associated with any political party," he added.
However, it has not stopped Saleem, who officially joined the party last year, from campaigning for the BJP in the election.
"I want to tell the Muslims of the state to not fall into the trap of thinking the party is against them.
"They should remember when Kalam was buried here, the entire BJP leadership, including the PM was here.
“They heeded to every request of ours, including his funeral being held here and also a memorial," the report quoted Saleem as saying.
“Not just Muslims, all the people of Rameshwaram should think of the corruption-free India that the BJP can deliver,” he added.
"The world is looking up to us now. Now is the time to get your share of development," Saleem said.
The BJP made its poll debut in Tamil Nadu in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It won one seat as part of an alliance.
All senior BJP veterans, including PM Modi , BJP chief Amit Shah, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu , Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani and Prakash Javadekar have been campaigning in the state.