New Delhi: Maneka Gandhi on Friday stirred a huge row as she told Muslims at Turab Khani village in Sultanpur that she would not want to give them jobs if they do not vote for her.
The union minister for women and child development, while addressing a poll rally in the Muslim-dominated village, said she would not like it if she wins without the support of Muslims.
“My feelings get hurt. If Muslims then come to me asking for work, then I will think let it be, how does it matter? After all, a job is a deal,” making it clear that Muslims should not expect jobs if they don’t vote for her.
The three-minute speech has gone viral on social media and sparked outrage for its blatantly communal content.
#WATCH Union Minister Maneka Gandhi reacts on her remark during her speech before a gathering of Muslims in Sultanpur y'day. She says, "I had called a meeting of our minority cell...If you read my complete speech, channel is running that one sentence out of context & incomplete. pic.twitter.com/OaZ3h8VqTt— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 12, 2019
Leaving no doubt what the intention behind her statement was, Gandhi further said that Muslim voters need to understand that democracy is a give-and-take relation.
“It is not that I will keep on giving without getting your support in elections in return,” she said, adding, “We are not the children of Mahatma Gandhi.”
“You can ask anyone in Pilibhit about the kind of work I did there. If you feel I haven’t done enough, you can decide not to vote for me,” she told the crowd.
Gandhi reiterated she was bound to win the elections and it was the people who needed her, and not the other way round.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded that the Election Commission register an FIR against her and cancel her nomination, while party leader Sanjay Jha slammed Gandhi for her statement and termed it 'scandalous'.
"#SCANDAL! Naukri ek sauda hai says #BJP's #ManekaGandhi. Dear Demographic Dividend India, now you know why India has an unemployment, #jobs crisis. For #BJP, providing jobs is a commercial deal; you have to help them first to get a job. A quid pro quo. It is a barter, give & take (sic)," Jha tweeted.
Gandhi had won the Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit in 2014. However, the party fielded her from Sultanpur this time, while her son Varun Gandhi has been fielded from Pilibhit.
The Samajwadi Party, too, slammed Gandhi with party spokesperson Abdul Hafiz Gandhi saying that the statement not only amounted to clear cut violation of the Model Code of Conduct, but was also an offence of criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code.
"She is frustrated on seeing her defeat from Sultanpur Lok Sabha. By swapping the constituencies between mother and son, it's crystal clear that both had utterly failed in their duty as BJP MPs," he said.
Later on Friday, Gandhi reiterated the government's "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas" credo, saying the BJP-led NDA had worked according to this principle and its welfare policies had accommodated all castes and sections of the society.
पिछले पांच साल में हमारी सरकार ने सभी वर्गों व समुदायों की उन्नति व विकास के लिए काम किया है, सभी लोगों को सरकार की योजनाओं का समान रूप से लाभ मिला है। हमारी सरकार ने 'सबका साथ, सबका विकास की नीति के तहत काम किया है।#ModiHiAayega pic.twitter.com/rtRmOEJqY2— Chowkidar Maneka Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) April 12, 2019