Even though the BJP government has worked “a lot” in the last four years, it still needs to do a lot more to gain the confidence of Muslims, “whose minds have been poisoned over the last 70 years”, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
“A lot has changed in the last four years; there is a palpable change in the way Muslims feel about the BJP, there is an atmosphere of confidence. We have done a lot of work. But there has been a misinformation campaign for 70 years, minds have been poisoned for that long… This is not about elections, it’s about generating confidence in people,” Naqvi told The Indian Express.
In the last week, Naqvi not only broke the BJP custom by hosting an Iftar gathering at his residence — purportedly for Muslim women but also hosted a grand Eid celebration.
Naqvi said the BJP government would remind Muslims of the schemes that were implemented for their development and its efforts against triple talaq, during the 2019 election campaign. “The good thing is that the new generation especially women are evaluating the party on its merits and demerits,” Naqvi said.
On the BJP’s defeat in the recent Kairana bypoll, he said it had not affected the party’s “winning spree”, but had certainly prompted it to relook its strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. “It does not mean that we will lose all the elections. Now that we know that the opposition parties will stitch an alliance to contest the Lok Sabha polls, we will prepare a strategy to counter them,” Naqvi said. The Minister alleged that the Congress and other rival parties had “always used Muslims for vote bank politics”, and had not done anything for their development.
“Congress and others always feel that Muslims will vote for them out of compulsion. So, they have never focussed on their development and empowerment,” he claimed.