Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that nearly 25 to 30 per cent Muslims voted for Prime Minister Narendra Modi this time during the Lok Sabha elections.
"I can say with confidence that 25 to 30 per cent Muslims voted for Modi this time" (Main danke ki chot par kah sakta hoon ki 25 se 30 per cent Muslim samaj ke logon ne Modi ji ko is baar vote diya), said Naqvi while replying to questions in Rajat Sharma's show 'Aap Ki Adalat' which will be telecast tonight on India TV.
"The reason why Muslims voted for Modi is because they decided enough is enough. For a long time, since the Jana Sangh days, during Mrs Indira Gandhi's period, Muslims were being told to fear us. Now the times have changed, the mindset of Muslims has changed.
"There will be no more polarization in the name of Hindus and Muslims. This time most of the Muslims did not cast votes to defeat any party, they voted on merit."
Naqvi said, "We never said that we won without the support of Muslims. Modi Ji has implemented all welfare schemes without discrimination on grounds of religion or caste, and Muslims have also benefited from them, without any discrimination. There was a time when it was being said that Muslims have the first right over the nation's resources. Those leaders were fooling Muslims."
Naqvi however admitted that some intemperate remarks were being made by some fringe elements in his party against Muslim community.
When Rajat Sharma pointed out that one of these fringe elements was a Cabinet minister (Giriraj Singh) in his government, Naqvi replied: "Muslims should only trust what Prime Minister Modi or party chief Amit Shah or any responsible BJP leader says. They should ignore fringe elements. Muslims should not fear at all, nor can any body create fear in their minds."
Asked why BJP did not give tickets to Muslim candidates if it wants to end discrimination, the Union Minister replied: "We gave tickets to nine or ten Muslim candidates, but they could not win. This is not important. The important thing the issue of political empowerment. It is correct that the number of Muslim representatives in Parliament and assemblies have declined but this has taken place over last many years."
"Nobody from BJP ever said that we form government by taking Muslim votes en bloc. This was being done by those who created political holes and used to hijack Muslim votes by creating an atmosphere of fear. They were leaders who used to don Muslim caps inside rooms and sport tilak outside while going to temples."
Naqvi said that "no big communal riot took place during the five year rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 2014 to 2019.Criminals who indulged in lynching have been jailed. The budget for minorities has increased from Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 5,000 crore."
"Our government has given scholarships to more than 3 crore minority students in the last four years. We trained more than 8.5 lakh Muslim youths in skill development. Our government is going to set up more than 100 "hunar haat" (markets for artisans) across the country. We will give scholarships to more than five crore Muslim students, and nearly half of them will be girls. We will be training teachers from 12,000 madrasas in basic subjects like Maths, Science to prepare Muslim students for bridge course."
Naqvi said: "Muslims need not fear, and those who are trying to create fear in their minds, will themselves have reasons to fear."
The Union Minister disclosed how during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India, the quota for Indian Haj pilgrims was raised to two lakhs at a banquet attended by PM Modi and himself.
"Since independence, this is the first time that we have got the Haj quota more compared to Pakistan. We are only behind Indonesia, which gets the biggest quota of 2.12 lakhs."
Maulana Mehmood Madani, general secretary, Jamiat ul Ulema-e-Hind, who also participated in the show, said Muslims should come out of their shells and instead of voting on lines of religion or caste, should vote purely on merit of candidates.
'Aap Ki Adalat' special show 'Modi Aur Musalmaan' will be telecast tonight at 10 pm on India TV. The repeat telecasts will take place tomorrow Sunday at 10 am and 10 pm.