By: SANTOSH KUMAR PATHAK
Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi strongly supported the BJP’s campaign to connect with the Muslims, especially the Pasmanda Muslims, saying that when the BJP government did not discriminate in the matter of development during the last eight years, then why should there be discrimination against his party over votes?
In a conversation with IANS, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi spoke on several issues like overpopulation, on the questions raised by the TMC on giving the minority ministry to Smriti Irani, on the allegations of changing the national emblem lion.
Q: The BJP is paying special attention to connecting backward (Pasmanda) Muslims with the party. Was this topic also discussed during the talks on the BJP’s victory in Rampur and Azamgarh by-elections at the recent National Executive meeting of the party held in Hyderabad?
A: The BJP is a national and nationalist party which believes in taking all sections of the society along and if you look at the tenure of our government for the last eight years, you will clearly see that we have no discrimination in the matter of development. Then why discriminate against us (BJP) in terms of votes? Therefore, we should go among the people and tell them about the work we have done for inclusive development. We are a political party and of course we would like people from all communities to join us.
Q: But how will you convince the Pasmanda Muslims to join the BJP?
A: I told you, when we did not discriminate in development, then why discrimination against us (BJP) in terms of votes? We will try to explain this to the people. Understanding this, some people have come to us, some are coming and we are confident that more people will come in the future.
Q: After you, Union Minister Smriti Irani has been given the charge of the minority ministry but TMC MP Jawahar Sarkar has objected to giving this ministry to her. What would you say to this?
A: Look, I do see one thing that sometimes the unavailability of reasoning makes some people utterly illogical. When any minister takes the oath of the constitution, he/she does not take it for any religion, caste or community, but for the country, for the countrymen and as far as Smriti Irani is concerned, she is committed to the progress of all sections of the society. She is honest and also works in that direction with full strength, so she does not need anyone’s certificate.
Q: Recently, there was a political controversy on the ever-increasing population in the country. Various statements have been made.
A: No country can ignore or tolerate the population explosion. In our country, many efforts were made for this in the past and due to those efforts, a large section of the society understood its responsibility and also cooperated in population control, but unfortunately some people are looking for places to foment unlimited trouble in the name of Allah’s grace. So that the population of the country keeps on increasing and they keep getting votes. These political parties have nothing to do with the development and progress of this community. Those who are giving this logic are not right.
Q: But there have been several statements from your leaders too about a particular community, while from the other side Akhilesh Yadav, his MPs and AIMIM National President Asaduddin Owaisi also made statements against your party and government, many things were said. What would you say to this?
A: See, all the countries of the world, whether they are developed countries or developing countries, have all found ways to control the population and the people of their country have contributed in this. In our country, the problem is that politics starts here immediately. Protests are started on the pretext of religion and secularism. There is a need to understand that due to excessive population increase, problems arise for the family, society and country. It is not a matter of being rigid but a matter of understanding for the country.
Q: But the statement of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also came on this, due to which there was a lot of uproar and your tweet was also very much discussed.
A: The first thing is that this issue is not of any religion or caste but the issue of the country. This is a big challenge for the country, not for any religion or caste. It is the responsibility of all the people living in this country to help control the wildly increasing population. As far as Yogi Adityanath ji’s statement is concerned, his statement was distorted. He didn’t speak anything like what has been said.
Q: You are saying that population explosion is a big challenge, so how should it be stopped? It is being speculated that your party and government may bring a law on this.
A: There is a need to prepare the society to bring the wildly increasing population under control. There should be a national debate across the country regarding this. Efforts should be made to motivate the society. To create awareness, campaigns should be conducted across the country by going among the people.
Q: The opposition is also accusing your government that you have changed even the national symbol of lion.
A: They (opposition parties) are very afraid of lions. Firstly they are afraid of Modi ji and then they fear a lion in the form of Modi ji, so what to do.
Q: What is your view regarding the implementation of Uniform Civil Code in the country?
A: Uniform Civil Code is the constitutional duty of the government and whichever government is in power, it should work in this direction.
Q: There is speculation about your political future.
A: (laughs) Now you guys decide our future.
Q: What are the expectations from the party?
A: All is well, all is well.