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Fiji Time: 11:31 PM on Thursday 18 September

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NFP rules out race-based campaigns

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, August 16, 2014

THE National Federation Party has ruled out any race-based campaign in the lead-up to next month's general election.

Party leader Professor Biman Prasad made the comment in response to claims by the FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz- Sayed Khaiyum on a television talkback show that NFP candidate Bala Dass had conducted an anti-Muslim campaign last week.

Last Tuesday during the show in question hosted by Veena Bhatnagar, FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum claimed Mr Dass conducted a racial campaign against the Muslim community.

"As a guest on the show I insisted the NFP has always conducted a clean and issues based campaign for these elections and that both Mrs Bhatnagar and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum must provide evidence to prove that Mr Dass had conducted this campaign," Mr Prasad said.

"On the program itself, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Bala Dass remarked Fiji was run by Muslims.

"He said the comment was made at the Mariamman temple in Savusavu, Nadi last week.

"The Savusavu meeting was held at the Shiva temple and not Mariamman temple as claimed by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

"One of those present at the party's meeting in Savusavu was Faizal Koya.

"I have spoken to both Mr Dass and Mr Koya and both have challenged Mrs Bhatnagar and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to provide proof to back their accusation."

He said in the absence of such proof, he supported Mr Dass's decision to take legal action against Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, Mrs Bhatnagar and Fiji Broadcasting Corporation because they regarded the allegation as defamatory.