New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dislikes minorities and would like them to go to Pakistan, Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela said Wednesday, a day after his controversial comment in Gujarat that his party depended on minority votes.
"BJP dislikes minorities. They want them to go to Pakistan," the senior Gujarat Congress leader said on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi.
"Congress is the party which belongs to the common man, the backward class, the poor and if the BJP thinks we are pleasing any particular community, then it's their problem. We don't want their certificate," he said, responding to questions on his comment Tuesday.
Vaghela said Tuesday at a minority community meeting in Ahmedabad: "We are dependent on you (minorities). The Congress already bears the accusation of being a pro-Muslim party... So, the onus of making us victorious is on you. Your lower turnout will not do... You have to come out in large numbers this time."
With assembly elections due in Gujarat, the comment led to the BJP accusing the Congress of treating minorities like a vote bank.
However, Vaghela said that he was addressing the minority cell of his party and did not target any particular community.
"The gathering included Sikhs, Christians and Parsis and if an alert citizen votes for a party which cares for him, what is wrong with it?... If the BJP sees my comments in a different light, what can I do?" Vaghela said.
Vaghela, who is also chairperson of the India Tourism Development Corporation, has political roots in the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and was in the BJP before he joined the Congress.