Congress leader and former Haryana power minister Ajay Yadav on Sunday criticised Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for saying that Muslims should offer namaaz only in mosques and not public spaces, The Times of India reported.

“Instead of making such statements, the CM should allot places large enough for offering namaaz,” Yadav said. “They [Muslims] congregate on the streets because they do not have a place big enough. And why blame them alone? Don’t we do yoga in parks and at times have jagran [prayers] on the roads?”

Yadav claimed that Muslims in Gurugram had been offering prayers in the open for over a decade. “With the 2019 polls approaching, they [BJP] want to divide the society on religious lines,” he alleged. “This is purely a political game to get the attention of Hindu voters.”

Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ashok Tanwar also criticised the chief minister for not treating everyone equally, The Indian Express reported. “The BJP and the RSS always have an agenda of playing with religious sentiments and disturbing communal harmony,” he said.

Indian National Lok Dal leader Gopi Chand Gehlot also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of attempting to polarise voters. “The BJP is trying to divide the electorate on communal grounds, keeping in mind the approaching elections at the national and state level,” The Times of India quoted Gehlot as saying. “It is the government’s responsibility to ensure Muslims feel safe and secure. The government should also find alternative land where namaaz can be offered.”

Independent MLA and Haryana Waqf board chairman Raees Khan said he was in touch with the district administration, helping them identify land belonging to the Waqf board. “Within a week, we should be able to allocate places where namaaz can be offered,” he said.