As part of his efforts to reach out to the Muslim community, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday invited Muslim intellectuals for a brainstorming session.
The invitation was sent to Muslim intellectuals from diverse fields like literature, arts, history, industry etc.
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The prominent Muslim intellectuals who attended the meeting were historian Irfan Habib, Retired IAS officer MF Farooqi, Industrialist Zunaid Rehman, Raza Mehboobabad Amir Mohammad and others.
Congress leaders Khurshid Alam and Nadeem Javed were also present in the meeting.
Rahul Gandhi asked these intellectuals to suggest the formula that could help the Congress in adding greater number of Muslims to the party.
According to sources, Muslim intellectuals advised Rahul to go back to the original principles of Congress. They told Rahul that the Congress needs to go back to its principles of 1960s and 1970s.
They also advised Rahul that the Congress should talk about poverty not about any one community because when the party talks about one particular community, it gives its opponents an opportunity to raise questions.
They asked why is it that whenever the issues of Muslims are raised, the discussion starts revolving around topics like “Halala” and “Triple Talaq” when the real issues for Muslims are similar to what other communities are facing- poverty, unemployment, education etc.
Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with Muslim intellectuals, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said that the Congress president remembers religion only ahead of elections.
“ It would have been better if Rahul Gandhi could have explained his stand on issues like Sharia court and Triple Talaq as well to Muslim intellectuals,” Shahnawaz said.
Watch: Rahul Gandhi meets Muslim intellectuals, discusses ‘formula’ for connecting with community