Naqvi said that there have been no terrorist attacks in the country in the last five years, adding that government’s strong political and nationalist played a part in it. Besides, he said that Muslims have also contributed to the country's peace and tranquillity.
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has claimed that the BJP can’t be blamed only for the decrease in the representation of minorities, especially Muslims, in the Parliament and state Assemblies. In an interview with The Indian Express, Naqvi noted that representation of minorities in the Parliament and other state assemblies has been going down every year over the past 35-40 years. He said that those who claim to be the representatives of minorities have failed to bring any significant improvement in the quality of life of the Muslim population. He said that the literacy rates have fallen under the leadership of the parties who had high representation for minorities.
Naqvi, who joined the BJP in 1986 and emerged as one of the prominent Muslim faces of his party, said that the BJP had fielded nine Muslim candidates for this Lok Sabha election, but they did not win is another matter.
Chiding the political parties for seeing minorities just as a vote bank, he said, “If you want to connect their representation to their social upliftment, then you will have to take into account the parties who had high representation from among them, yet how in the past 70 years, poverty and unemployment rates among people of the community have increased and literacy rates have been falling.”
“We don’t need them (separate electorates). We are talking about 130 crore Indians, of inclusive growth, development without discrimination, and empowerment without appeasement,” he added.
The 17 Lok Sabha has 26 Muslim MPs, three more than 2014 figure of 23. National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi and Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan are among the high profile Muslim MPs who have won. The BJP has not a single Muslim MP among its 303 MPs while its ally LJP has one Muslim MP — Mehboob Ali Kaiser (Khagaria). In terms of percentile, Muslims constitute around 14% of the country’s 1.25 billion population but it has 4.61% representation. The 14th Lok Sabha (2004 to 2009) had 30 Muslim MPs while 2009 elections saw 34 Muslims making it to the Lok Sabha. In 1984, there were 42 Muslim MPs.
Naqvi went on to claim that the previous Modi government had worked for the upliftment of Muslims and other minorities. According to his claim, more than 32% of minorities have benefited from Mudra Yojana of the government. He also said that discrimination which has been happening for the last 70 years against the minorities has reduced.
When he was asked about allegations that Muslims are insecure and have to provide a certificate of nationalism under NDA’s regime, Naqvi replied that no one has ever doubted nationalism of Muslims and no one still doubts it. The BJP leader noted that most of the talk around intolerance after 2014 is done keeping PM Narendra Modi in mind but after 2014, the incidents of violence against Muslims have come down.
Naqvi said that there have been no terrorist attacks in the country in the last five years, adding that government’s strong political and nationalist played a part in it. Besides, he said that Muslims have also contributed to the country’s peace and tranquillity.
“The country’s people also had a big contribution to it, especially the Muslims. If IS or al-Qaeda could not establish their roots in our country, even though they did it in big European nations, it’s thanks to Indian Muslims. This is why no one has ever doubted their nationalism and bhakti (patriotism), no one still doubts it, and never will,” he said.
The minister also said that the Constitution guarantees freedom to every Muslim to practice their religion and India is the only country where they get to read the namaaz even on the streets and the azaan is broadcast through loudspeakers in mosques.