Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said Muslims do not vote for the BJP, but the government has given them "proper sanctity".
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?
Reactions to Statement
He was responding to a question related to development having an impact on culture and diversity.
Strong reactions have come in opposition to his comment. Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that he was unable to understand the statement "that even though they don't vote for us, we give them sanctity".
I see no reason why someone should feel that a particular segment of society is unable to vote for them...We should see who does not vote for us and find out why, and see if it can be addressed. Don’t know from where has ‘sanctity’ come in.
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi termed the Union Minister’s statement as “unfortunate”.
We gave them sanctity? Who are ‘We’? It is the Constitution that has given rights, our rights are protected under that...In a democracy like India, we have got full freedom to choose our leaders. Ravi Shankar needs to understand that the Constitution is supreme.
Owaisi said that the Constitution is supreme and asserted that the Union Minister’s work is to implement those constitutional rights.
Ravi Shankar PrasadWe 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.
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 he has visited many Muslim-dominated villages where many Muslim youth are running Common Service Centres, which help people avail government services through Internet.
The minister cited the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortlisting a Muslim tea garden labourer in Jalpaiguri, Karimul Haque, for his exemplary work.
Prasad said 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 chief ministers address concerns. Yogi Adityanath is a popular leader. You are seeing his instances of good governance and inclusive development.
The minister said he has issues with those in the Left and journalists spreading "hatred" against Modi.
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 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.
India is in the third phase of political evolution where people are looking for "politics of aspirational reality with good governance".
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)