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Advani discovers he is home minister of all Indians: prays at Ajmer dargah
|Politics never ceases to amaze. Home Minister L K Advani on 3 December prayed at Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti's dargah in Ajmer. Local Muslims were ecstatic and thronged the dargah in huge numbers to watch the spectacle.
There was a popular request from the crowd: give a little speech and Advani readily obliged: 'India is a multi-community country and all of them strive to be good people. That is why every community comes to this dargah.'' He said though the 20th century was identified with the Western world, 'if all communities here worked hard unitedly, then the 21st century will certainly belong to Bharat (India).' To this the crowd responded with Aameen!
Welcoming Advani, Syed Sarwar Chishti on behalf of the Khadims, the traditional caretakers and descendants of the Khwaja, said: 'Advani's homage at the shrine has set a new tone. We hope this step would be an earnest and sincere effort in promoting communal harmony in the interest of national integrity.... We pray for our beloved nation and its people. May this sincere gesture of Advani bring the two major communities of Bharat closer. Aameen.'
The visit to the dargah during the Ramadan is significant in view of Advani's hardline Hindutva image and is obviously meant to send a message to Indian Muslims and also to Pakistan. Coming as it does during the ceasefire in Kashmir, the visit assumes added importance. The Ajmer dargah, like most dargahs, is visited by both Muslims and Hindus. Ajmer, in particular, has been historically a setting for communal confluence. Later, asked by reporters if the visit indicated a shift in the party line, Advani said: 'As far as the BJP is concerned, all religions are equal.'