Ahmed Patelís pick dumps Congress for Modiís BJP
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sadbhavana effect? The former journalist, a Muslim, had joined Cong before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and was made state unit's spokeswoman
In what could boost Chief Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to shed his anti-Muslim image, former state Congress spokeswoman Asifa Khan, formerly a journalist who was handpicked by Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political adviser Ahmed Patel to join the party before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, joined the BJP on Saturday.
Khan, who hails from Bharuch district that has a sizeable chunk of Muslims, said the community had to move on by "burying the 2002 communal riots".
"I am as pained as any victim of 2002 riots but the community has to move on. Riot victims are getting justice from the judiciary," she said in a reply to a query on the 2002 riots.
"You know that many riots took place before 2002 also in Gujarat," Khan told reporters.
Khan said though she was "grateful" to Ahmed Patel for brining her into politics, she stood firm on working for the BJP.
She claimed she was deeply impressed by Modi for his Sadbhavna Mission, which, she said, was never attempted by any other chief minister in the past.
Khan, who was also the media convenor of national women wing of Congress, said she had no problem as such with Congress but decided to switch to BJP as the party was "working towards bringing in prosperity".
"Her coming to the party proves that BJP is gaining support from all communities of the state ahead of elections. She has come to the party from Bharuch district where Muslim population is high," BJP MP and spokesman Vijay Rupani said.
He said more people would get attracted to BJP for its policy of "development for all and appeasement for none".
However, BJP was silent when asked whether the party would give tickets to the minority community members in the forthcoming elections. So far under Modi, no members of minority community have been given tickets by the party.
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