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Cong downplays religious angle in Rahul's meeting with Muslim intellectuals

Cong downplays religious angle in Rahul's meeting with Muslim intellectuals

New Delhi, July 11 (UNI) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday met prominent Muslim academicians, historians, lawyers and social activists to get their feedback on various socio-political issues confronting the country.

Even as the party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi sought to downplay the event and said it would be erroneous to give religious to the meeting as the Congress party has always kept its doors open for all sections of people.

Briefing reporters after the interaction, former Union Minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid said more such interactions will take place in future.

"The participants including lawyers and historians gave their feedback to the Congress President on various issues and sectors they are working in", he said.

The meeting between Mr Gandhi Muslim intellectuals has assumed special significance after All India Muslim Personal Board has mooted the idea to set up Shariat Courts - a move that has been marred by huge political controversies.

Among others the meeting was attended by Irfan Habib, MS Farooqui, Amir Mohammad, Junaid Rahman also Farah Naqvi, sources said.

The meeting also reviewed the performance of Narendra Modi government vis-a-vis growing incidents of anti-minority violence and mob lynching in various parts of the country.

The Congress sources said Mr Gandhi would also interact with leaders and intellectuals from other communities including Dalits and Tribals on various issues in near future.

While the BJP has flayed Congress over the episode with the party spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao accusing the grand old party of always pursuing "vote bank politics" to win support of the Muslims, the Congress spokesperson Ms Chaturvedi said rather it is the BJP which has always tried to create socio-religious tension among the people.

"We are not going by religious credentials of any one....The Congress leaders have always interacted with all sections of people - especially intellectuals. We do no take it as a meeting with Muslim intellectuals," Ms Chaturvedi told reporters here in the afternoon.

The Congress sources maintained Mr Gandhi's interaction with cross sections of the people and intellectuals have nothing to do with BJP leaders launching Sampark for Support Campaign.

The Congress party enlisting people's views on various issues has its own significance especially in the context of ensuing Monsoon session of Parliament and also elections due in three BJP ruled states- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The BJP has been also trying to make a dent among Muslim vote base especially women by flagging

off the controversial issues like Triple Talaq.

UNI KNA DEVN 2044

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