Hoping to capitalise on its recent overtures to minority communities during the recently-concluded civic polls in three cities of Rajasthan, the opposition BJP has accused the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state of being ‘anti-Muslim’ in its policies.
While the BJP has cited instances such as the party recently fielding more than four dozen Muslim candidates in the civic elections as an example of it raising issues related to minority communities, the Congress has slammed the saffron party of levelling baseless allegations.
Earlier this week, the minority wing of the BJP submitted memorandums to the administrations in every district of the state, with the office-bearers maintaining that this protest was warranted because of the Congress government’s ‘activities against Muslims’ since the past two years.
“During the last Assembly elections, more than 95 per cent of the minority community voted in favour of the Congress. But despite that, several issues pertaining to the minority community remain unattended because of the Gehlot government’s anti-Muslim policies. The state government stopped scholarships for minority students and higher education loans and did nothing when it comes to issues impacting the community such as increasing pay scale of madrasa para teachers and starting online classes in madrasas,” said M Sadiq Khan, president, BJP Minority Wing, Rajasthan.
In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Gehlot, the BJP minority wing mentioned issues such as the government not including any minority community candidate when appointing members of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) last month, reducing the importance of Urdu as a third language in schools and the government not constituting boards and commissions pertaining to minority issues.
Khan claimed that the BJP has been raising issues pertaining to Muslims and cited the recent civic body elections as an example.
“We gave tickets to several Muslim candidates in the elections for the six municipal corporations in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota. The fact that people voted for them shows that the minority community is receptive to our party. We are planning state-wide agitations in December against the Congress government’s neglect of minority issues,” claimed Khan.
Party sources said the minority wing of the BJP has taken up long-standing issues such as that of Urdu teachers, about which several people were already protesting.
The BJP had fielded more than four-dozen Muslim candidates in the civic elections the results of which were declared earlier this month.
The Congress rubbished the BJP’s allegations and said the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre should instead focus on formulating policies favourable to the minority community.
“When the BJP was in power in Rajasthan for five years, it didn’t look after the minority department properly. Everyone is free to choose subjects and the government has deputed teachers everywhere where Urdu students are in large numbers. Revised orders have been released to clarify this. The allegations of the BJP are absolutely baseless. After 18 years, our government passed the Madarsa Act in Rajasthan,” said Shale Mohammad, cabinet minister, Minority Affairs Department and Waqf Department.
He added that the BJP should first make its policies more minority-friendly in the national level. He added that the BJP fielded Muslim candidates in local body elections because most of the areas where these tickets were distributed had a majority of Muslim population and the party didn’t have “any choice” but to field them.