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The state opposition Congress on Sunday termed Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s act of sporting a skull cap on the occasion of Eid as a “politically motivated gesture” in an election year. State Congress spokesman Mukesh Nayak said Mr. Chouhan’s act was aimed at attracting Muslim votes in Madhya Pradesh, where Assembly election is due by the year-end. Mr. Chouhan’s gesture triggered a controversy and he faced criticism both within his party BJP and outside.
Congress used the controversy to take potshots at Mr. Chouhan and Mr. Modi, saying both BJP Chief Ministers had used the skull cap for political reasons. In 2011, the Gujarat Chief Minister had refused to put on a skull cap offered by a Muslim cleric during his ‘sadbhavana’ fast. While Mr. Modi had refused to wear the cap in order to appease his Hindu vote bank, Mr. Chouhan’s move was aimed at attracting Muslim votes, Mr. Nayak said on 10 August. Mr. Chouhan himself had tried to put a “cap” on the controversy, saying an occasion like Eid should not be politicised.