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Cong, AAP vie to woo Varanasi's Muslims

Cong, AAP vie to woo Varanasi's Muslims

On Saturday, barely hours before campaigning in Varanasi came to a close, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) intensified attempts to woo the 15 per cent Muslim vote in the constituency.

While Muslims remained tight-lipped over which way their vote would go, the Congress’ Ajai Rai and AAP candidate Arvind Kejriwal left no stone unturned to garner the 3 lakh muslim votes here.

Rai received a shot in the arm on Saturday as Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan’s family came out on the streets to play the instrument as Rahul Gandhi’s roadshow passed through Beniabagh. Almost all parties had tried to get the support of the maestro’s family, which commands considerable respect in the town. BJP candidate Narendra Modi had asked Khan’s grandson to be his proposer, but he declined, saying he preferred to be “apolitical”.

On Saturday however, Khan's family members recited “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram,” Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan.

Though the family later clarified their recital should not be construed as endorsement of the Congress, it was obvious that Rai had struck a chord with the muslims. Congress workers were apparently buoyed by the support of the Shehnai maestro’s family.

Muslims were seen coming out of their homes to welcome Rahul Gandhi's motorcade in the muslim-dominated Beniabagh area, where Modi was denied permission to hold his election meeting on Thursday.

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