Jaipur, June 23: In a veiled reference to 2002 post-Godhra riots, BJP president Rajnath Singh appealed the Muslim community to "forget or ignore it".
"There may have been some incidents but can we not forget or ignore them now? Incidents have been happening and 13,000 communal riots took place in the country before 2002. Rajasthan has seen the regime of Bhairo Singh Shekhawat and Vasundhara Raje but there had been no discrimination against minorities," Singh said.
"I want to build confidence among you (Muslims) that there is no difference in our words and deeds. British ruled with 'divide and rule' policy, but after 66 years of independence governments could not bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims," the BJP leader said at seminar on 'issues before minorities' organised by news channels.
Singh asked people to approach him if there was any case of discrimination against the community in BJP-ruled state.
"If you find any discrimination with the community in any of the BJP ruled states, come to me with your complaint or write to me; I will reply and try to solve the problem," Singh said.
He also said that the party was not doing politics to gain power.
"We are trying to touch your hearts by love and affection and not by sense of fear. We want to build confidence among you," he said.
However, when Singh was leaving after addressing the function he was aggressively challenged by Rajasthan Minority Commission Chairman Mahir Azad to explain why "discrimination against Muslims prevailed in Gujarat".
However, Singh did not react and left the venue. "You asked Muslims to write to you about discrimination in BJP-ruled states, but why you are not saying about Gujarat. Why discrimination was there in Gujarat? Students from the minority community are deprived of scholarship. Fund for minority welfare and development allocated by the Centre is not being utilised for years. You should clarify this to people here," Azad said.
Singh did not react and moved out of the hall amid commotion.
Later, BJP minority cell's state president Amin Pathan went up to the dais to counter Azad's allegations, but he had to face resistance and mike was snatched from him.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain, who was accompanying Singh, told reporters that the allegations levelled by Azad were baseless and Azad was doing politics on a wrong occasion.