"We have got 13 Chief Ministers of our own. We are ruling the country. Have we victimised any Muslim gentleman working in industry or service?"
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said Muslims do not vote for the BJP, but the government has 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 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?" Mr. Prasad said at the annual Mindmine Summit organised by the Hero Group in New Delhi.
The Minister 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 the blessings of people of India," he said.
In the recent Assembly elections, the BJP scored an impressive win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The party also formed governments in Goa and Manipur. Its main rival, the Congress, was able to get a clear majority only in Punjab.
As Information Technology Minister, Mr. Prasad said, he had visited many Muslim-dominated villages, where many Muslim youth were running Common Service Centres that help people avail of government services through Internet.
The Minister cited the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortlisting a Muslim tea garden labourer in Jalpaiguri, Karimul Haque, for his exemplary work. Mr. Prasad said Mr. Haque has converted his motorcycle into an ambulance, rushes whosoever falls sick to hospital and in the process, has saved nearly 2,000 lives.
"We never saw religion of Haque or whether he voted for us or not. If there are certain uncalled for voices, the Prime Minister addresses the concerns, the CMs address concerns. Yogi [Adityanath] is a popular leader. You are seeing his instances of good governance and inclusive development," Mr. Prasad said.
The Minister said he has issues with those in the Left and journalists spreading "hatred" against Mr. Modi. "We have a problem with some of our friends. Mostly, the Leftist friends and journalists who entertain a pathological hatred against Narendra Modi. Good luck to them," he said.
According to Mr. Prasad, the Left is "left out" all over the world and defeated in India. "They are left out in Bengal, are surviving in Kerala and Tripura, but the Left has got a very good campus in Delhi, which is the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and I always say the Left also needs some consolation prize. So, JNU is their consolation prize, we don't mind that," he said.
India is in the third phase of political evolution where people were looking for "politics of aspirational reality with good governance", he said. "People of India know they can unseat any political party howsoever popular any political leader howsoever popular. This realisation brings about a different kind of humility. You better learn to perform and trust people. Otherwise, they will show you the door and they have been showing the door."
He was of the view that the politics of "want" relating to bread and of "identity" based on caste, community, religion and region is over now.