Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has stoked a controversy with his remark that ‘Muslims do not vote for the saffron party, but the government has given them proper sanctity’.
Responding to a question related to development having an impact on culture and diversity, Prasad on Friday acknowledged that Muslims do not exercise their franchise in favour of the BJP, but this didn’t mean that the ‘government victimised them’.
“We have got 13 Chief Ministers of our own. We are ruling the country. Have we victimised any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service? Have we dismissed them? We don't get Muslim votes. I acknowledge very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not?” Prasad asked.
"We salute diversity and culture of India. There are two ways of looking at it. Let me be very frank today. There has been campaign against us for a very long time, but today we are here because of blessings of people of India," Prasad said.
In recent Assembly elections, the BJP scored an impressive win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The party also formed government in Goa and Manipur. Its main rival Congress was able to get a clear majority in Punjab only.
As IT Minister, Prasad said that he has visited many Muslim-dominated villages where many Muslim youth are running Common Service Centres which help people avail of government services through Internet.
The Minister cited the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi short-listing a Muslim tea garden labourer in Jalpaiguri, Karimul Haque, for his exemplary work.
Prasad said that Haque has converted his motorcycle into an ambulance, rushes whosoever falls sick to hospital and in the process, has saved nearly 2,000 lives.
"We never saw religion of Haque or whether he voted for us or not. If there are certain uncalled for voices, the Prime Minister addresses the concerns, the CMs address concerns. Yogi (Adityanath) is a popular leader. You are seeing his instances of good governance and inclusive development," Prasad said.
The Minister said that he has issues with those in the Left and journalists spreading ‘hatred’ against PM Modi.
"We have a problem with some of our friends. Mostly, the Leftist friends and journalists who entertain a pathological hatred against Narendra Modi. Good luck to them," Prasad quipped.
According to Prasad, the Left is ‘left out’ all over the world and had been defeated in India.
"They are left out in Bengal, are surviving in Kerala and Tripura, but the Left has got a very good campus in Delhi, which is the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and I always say the Left also needs some consolation prize. So, JNU is their consolation prize, we don't mind that," Prasad said.
India is in the third phase of political evolution where people are looking for ‘politics of aspirational reality with good governance’.
"People of India know they can unseat any political party howsoever popular any political leader howsoever popular. This realisation brings about a different kind of humility. You better learn to perform and trust people. Otherwise, they will show you the door and they have been showing the door," Prasad pointed out.
He is of the view that the politics of 'want' relating to breads and of 'identity' based on caste, community, religion and region is over now.
Wth PTI Inputs