To counter Congress, BJP to come out with minorities welfare document

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 26 2013, 18:21pm hrs
In an apparent attempt to thwart Congress's bid to corner the BJP over the secular credentials of Narendra Modi in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has decided to come out with a separate 'Vision Document for Empowerment of Minorities'.

BJP president Rajnath Singh has directed party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to head a committee that will interact with clerics and scholars working on minority issues and minority educational institutes, to frame a vision for "socio-economic and political" empowerment of minorities.

Shahnawaz Hussain and BJP's Minority Morcha president Abdul Rasheed Ansari will be among the members of the committee.

The move comes in the backdrop of Modi's suggestion last week to party leaders to counter the Congress's alleged misinformation campaign against the party. "For the first time the BJP will come out with such a document. It is likely to be finalised before August and will be released across different states to create awareness among the minorities," Naqvi told The Indian Express .

While the formal consultations for this document is yet to begin, Naqvi said this initiative will neither be apologetic nor for appeasement of minorities. "It is not an apology. It will also have no message of appeasement. The vision document will have a message of socio-economic betterment and political empowerment of minorities," he said in response to whether it is going to be an apology for the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

The BJP vice-president hinted that the initiative will go beyond the "stereotypical" approaches in form of rhetoric towards the Haj, promotion of Urdu or Wakf-related issues or Muslims reservation related issues used by anti-BJP parties.

He said the initiative would seek to expose the "political and secular hypocrisy" on the issue of security and alleged insecurity among the minorities. Naqvi said the document will expose claims of the "self-professed secular parties".

"Muslims are made to feel insecure with imagery suggesting that they are terrorists. But the fact is this imagery has been created by the arrest of Muslim youths in states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh," Naqvi said, highlighting how it was non-BJP states and mostly Congress-ruled states where these things have happened. "They are first arrested and then it is being said that they are innocents. This creates a sense of insecurity," he said, adding that "this political and secular hypocrisy will be highlighted" to drive home BJP's point.