Kickstarting his West Bengal poll campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday mounted a blistering attack on Trinamool Congress over corruption charges against it and also on CPI-M and Congress for their alliance in West Bengal but as rivals in poll-bound Kerala. But what made headlines was something that happened during his speech. 

PM Modi paused in the middle of his speech on hearing the azaan (Islamic call for prayer) from a nearby mosque. And despite many in the audience urging him to continue speaking, the Prime Minister gestured to them to calm down.

“Azaan was underway and anyone’s prayers shouldn’t be interrupted because of us. Hence, I decided to pause and take rest for a brief period,” he said. Here’s how that played out: 

This isn’t the first time a politician has made headlines for pausing during a speech after hearing the azaan. Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal had done something similar on March 26, 2014 at rally in Varanasi where he was contesting against Modi in the general elections.

For the prime minister, the star campaigner in the party’s Bengal election campaign, the gesture helps take on critics who argue that he isn’t sensitive towards the Muslim community. On Twitter, many, including his supporters, praised him for the gesture in a state where almost 25 percent of the population is from the Muslim community. 

But whether a gesture like this will translate into votes and make the BJP a serious contender is another matter entirely. 

(Feature image source: PTI)