Lucknow: Amid the controversy over Salman
Rushdie`s India visit, BJP leader Uma Bharti on Saturday said that
the Congress will be looking to exploit the issue to the hilt
to win over Muslims voters in Uttar Pradesh.
Bharti, who is on a whirlwind tour of Uttar Pradesh, has
been attacked by Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Digvijay Singh
and Pramod Tiwari among others since BJP President Nitin
Gadkari announced that she would contest from Charkhari
constituency in Mahoba district.
Both the parties are now accusing each other of polarising
the elections to win votes.
"Salman Rushdie has also made fun of Lord Hanuman in his
book The Satanic Verses. If you read the book you will find
that he uses satirical language against him.
"But we have never said the book should be banned. An
author should be allowed his freedom of expression till he
does not try to denigrate somebody," Bharti told reporters.
The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, who is facing
charges in the Babri mosque demolition case, said the Rushdie
affair will be used by the Congress in the elections in UP to
"As the Uttar Pradesh elections are on, you never know in
what different ways the Congress will exploit Rushdie.
"He will be used a tasty dish to be served to Muslims in
various forms- with salt and with sugar- to win them over,"
She maintained that even in the case of celebrated painter
M F Hussain, who lived in self-exile till his death recently,
her party had never said he should not return to India.
Hussain had drawn the ire of Hindu right-wing forces when
he painted Hindu goddesses in the nude.
The UK-based author, who does not need a visa as he is a
Person of Indian Origin (PIO), decided not to visit India
citing threat to him from the Mumbai underworld.
Bharti said the Congress was making these noises about
Rushdie as elections are on in UP and the ruling party at the
Centre wants to appease the Muslims.
The BJP has already targeted the Congress for announcing
4.5 per cent quota to minorities within the 27 per cent OBC
On its part, the Congress has maintained that it has
nothing to do with the Rushdie issue and the rules should