BEGUSARAI: Actress Shabana Azmi charged the BJP on Thursday with playing "communal politics" to divert public attention from its failure in providing jobs, security to women and fulfilling other promises it had made during the last general election.
Addressing a poll meeting here in support of CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, pitted against Union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh from Begusarai in the ongoing parliamentary election, Azmi said, "It did not take much time for them (BJP) to get exposed, for the people to realise that their promises were just jumlas (rhetoric). So, they are back to their old game of pitting Hindus against Muslims."
The national award winner, known for her social activism, recalled the association of her father, poet Kaifi Azmi, with the Communist Party of India (CPI) and said, "For him, his membership card used to be the most prized possession. He always kept it in his pocket."
"We, as children, were raised with the progressive values he stood for. He gave us a life, wherein we had few possessions, yet felt the richness of life. This has been a uniqueness of those associated with the Left movement. Kanhaiya represents the same," she said.
Showering praises on the former JNU Students' Union president, Azmi charged the Narendra Modi government at the Centre with slapping a "fabricated" sedition case on Kanhaiya and "falsely accusing" him of belonging to the "tukde tukde gang".
"Please vote for Kanhaiya on April 29 and send him to Parliament.Young men like him are our hope for a future, wherein our heritage of a composite culture would remain preserved," she said and ended her speech by saying "kamanewala khaega, lootnewala jaega" (the one who toils shall earn while the one who seeks to plunder shall be driven away).
In an apparent reference to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate from Begusarai, Tanveer Hassan, Azmi said, "Please be on your guard against appeals to vote in the name of your religious identity. Muslims must not vote for someone just because he or she belongs to their community."
Actor Prakash Raj also spoke at the meeting addressed by Azmi and came down heavily on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for "trying to divert the public discourse from issues like jobs to non-issues like cows".
Raj, who took the political plunge rattled by the killing of his close friend and journalist Gauri Lankesh, said he was himself contesting "against the chowkidar" -- a metaphor to denote Prime Minister Modi and the BJP -- from Bengaluru and added, "If god appeared before me and said either Kanhaiya or me could fight elections, I would have stepped down in favour of this young man."