Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said that Muslims did not vote for the BJP, but the government had 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?” Prasad had said while speaking at a conclave.
He was responding to a question related to development having an impact on culture and diversity.
“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.
As IT minister, Prasad said that he had 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.
As expected, Prasad received plenty of flak for his comment both from his political adversaries and social media users. Prasad was reminded about many high-profile Muslims who were part of the BJP. They included his cabinet colleague, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party spokesperson, Shahnawaz Hussain, Manipur Governor, Najma Heptullah and Shazia Ilmi to name a few.
The CPI-M general secretary, Sitaram Yechury, said, “Is he doing a charity by providing sanctity to Muslims? Let him not speak in such tone. His comments are unbecoming of a minister.”
AIMIM president, Asaduddin Owaisi said, “Sir not you but Constitution gave us rights are you threatening Muslims or patronising them… He’s the minister for law. He should stop using the word ‘we.’ This is India’s democracy and not Saddam Hussain’s or North Korea’s.”
Congress’s Shakil Ahmed said, ” Ravi Shankar Prasad must be asked as to why Shahnawaz Hussain, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and other Muslim leaders are in their party? This statement has clearly exposed the BJP.”
But, Prasad’s cabinet colleague, Giriraj Singh, agreed with the minister.
He told ABP News, “Ravi Shankar ji has spoken the truth. If we put a lie-detector machine on you (reporter), even you will say the same. Ravi babu is representing the sentiments of the society.”
Here are some of the comments;
Don't seek Muslim votes, don't give them tickets, justify their killings, then say they don't vote for us https://t.co/SIjbT6HRxp
— Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) April 21, 2017
Ravi Shankar Prasad, if muslims don't vote you then how did you won 300+ seats in UP? #EVMtampering ?
— Pratik Mohite (@Pratik_INC) April 22, 2017
Thoughts on Constitutional responsibility of govt??
"We don’t get Muslim votes..but have given them sanctity.." https://t.co/fjvme5eWh8
— RGICS (@RGICS) April 22, 2017
Muslims don't vote BJP, so they should be thankful to them that they are not lynched or rioted against… oh wait ? https://t.co/qRADYE0BC4
— Suryanarayan Ganesh (@gsurya) April 22, 2017
— Geet Varun (@geetv79) April 22, 2017
— कामरान (@kamrank) April 21, 2017
— ShafeeqMahajir (@brainstormlegal) April 22, 2017