Three days after his comments in western Uttar Pradesh that Muslims do “not vote for the BJP” because it is “a patriotic party”, BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma said Monday that the community “keeps a distance” from his party and “does not want to get associated with development”.
On Saturday, Verma told reporters after addressing a rally in Baghpat: “Hum kisi votebank ki chinta nahin karte. Muslim kabhi na hamein vote kiya hai na karenge. Ek simple si baat hai, desh mein har atankwadi Muslim kyun hota hai aur Muslim BJP ko vote kyun nahi karta… isliye ki BJP ek rashtrabhakt party hai. Isliye Muslim usko vote nahi karta… Hamein kisi samudai ki chinta nahi hai… Hum Ram Mandir banake rahenge (We don’t care about any votebank. Muslims have never voted for us and they never will. It is a very simple matter.. why is every terrorist in the country a Muslim and why do Muslims not vote for BJP… Because the BJP is a patriotic party, that’s why Muslims don’t vote for us. We don’t care about any particular community. We will build the Ram Mandir).”
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On Monday, amid criticism from the Congress for his inflammatory comments, Verma told news agency ANI: ”Our government did not bring schemes for any particular community. Even Muslims can get benefits from all those schemes. But still, I believe the Muslim community keeps a distance when it comes to voting for the BJP. The Muslim community votes for all political parties except the BJP.”
Alleging that all political parties have always seen Muslims as a votebank, Verma claimed that the community does not want to be associated with development.
”Are Muslim children in madrasas being provoked against the BJP? When I was asked why only the BJP is called a nationalist party, I said why terrorists in the nation are only Muslims and why Muslims do not vote for the BJP.because it (the community) does not want to come in the mainstream and does not want to get associated with development. (BSP chief) Mayawati has said that if Muslims vote for her, she can make the government,” said the
Asked why the Muslim community did not vote for BJP, Verma said, “I think the most relevant issue is the relation between India and Pakistan. Why are terrorists only Muslims? From where do they get all the funding and from where do they get all the weapons?”
Verma is the son of former Union minister and Delhi ex-chief minister Sahib Singh Verma, who died in a road accident in 2007.
Reacting sharply to Verma’s comments, the Congress’s chief minister-candidate for the upcoming UP elections, Shiela Dikshit, said: “It brings out the agenda of the BJP in UP. It is a communal statement. The party believes in dividing society on communal lines. Whether this is a poll gimmick or not, at no point can these statements be made. They should realise that our country is one, where following a religion is everyone’s fundamental right and we respect all religions equally. Peace has to be maintained in society.”