Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is the Minister for Minority Affairs in the Narendra Modi government. A post-graduate in mass communication, he has retained his interest in writing on socio-political-cultural issues to this day drawing upon his vast experience and grassroots activities in movements for democratic and social issues concerning the common man. Lately, he has been propagating the rights, welfare and uplift of artisans and craftsmen.
A senior and influential member of the BJP, Naqvi served as Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs in 1998 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In the first term of the Modi-led government in 2014, he served as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and is now a Cabinet Minister. In an interview with Ashok Tuteja, Naqvi spoke about the BJP’s prospects in the coming Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the recent hijab and Halal-Jhatka meat controversies in Karnataka, among other issues.
What does the BJP’s victory in the Assembly elections in four states, including Uttar Pradesh, suggest?
A: The landslide victory of the BJP in Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and other states has proved that the people have accepted the Modi Model of Good Governance. The thumping victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and other states is the people’s stamp on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to inclusive empowerment of all. The people have voted for “Jugalbandi of Vikas and Sushasan”. The Modi and Yogi Era has demolished the “Legacy of Cut, Commission, Corruption” and the “Politics of Danga and Dabang”. Prime Minister Modi has replaced “Parikrama Politics” (Politics of Circumambulation) with the “Commitment to Performance”. The results of these Assembly elections are a crystal clear reflection of this positive change in the political culture.
Muslim women are also believed to have voted in favour of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh? What does it indicate?
A: See, the historic comeback of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh with 255 seats, clearly demonstrates that the BJP has become the most acceptable and preferred political party in each and every section of society. Cutting across the barrier of region, religion, caste and community, every section has voted in favour of the BJP in the recent Assembly polls. Along with all the needy sections of society, the Muslim women have also immensely benefitted from the welfare schemes of the Modi Government at the Centre and the Yogi government in the state. Be it Ujjwala Yojana, Mudra Yojana, construction of toilets, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, financial assistance to marriageable girls, all these welfare schemes have equally benefitted the women from every section of the society. The Modi Government abolished the social evil of Triple Talaq. It has ensured gender equality for Muslim women. Our Government has lifted the restriction on Muslim women performing Haj with “Mehram” (male companion) only. More than 3,500 Muslim women have performed Haj without “Mehram” since 2018. These historic measures have created a positive atmosphere among Muslim women.
Do you think the victory in Uttar Pradesh for the BJP is a trend-setter for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024?
A: For us, every election is significant. The victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh is a victory of good governance and commitment to “Development with Dignity” and “Empowerment without Appeasement”. Prime Minister Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have led the fight against Corona from the front. Both the Central and State Governments worked tirelessly for the health and well-being of the people. More than 80 crore people are being given free ration. Along with other states of the country, Uttar Pradesh has also tremendously benefited from this step. While other political parties went to the polls with a false, fabricated and negative agenda, the BJP went before the people with the achievements of the Modi Government and the Yogi Government. Better law and order is the hallmark of the Yogi Government. The BJP will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on the glorious achievements of the Modi Government at the Centre and the BJP Governments in the states.
Why did the BJP perform so badly in Punjab?
A: I’ll tell you. The Assembly election in Punjab was a fresh start for the BJP in the state. Prior to this, the BJP was in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). While in an alliance with the SAD, the BJP had contested only 23 seats in 2017 and had won three with a vote share of 5.39 per cent. In 2022, the BJP contested 73 seats and won two seats but our vote share increased to 6.60 per cent. While Congress’s vote share fell by 15.52 per cent, the SAD’s individual vote share fell by 6.86 per cent. The BJP is the only party whose vote share increased by 1.21 per cent, so we are optimistic of a better performance next time.
Do you think the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be able to provide a stable government to Punjab, a border state, where separatism seems to be raising its ugly head again?
A: First of all, I congratulate the AAP for their victory in Punjab. But, they must understand that governing Punjab will be different altogether from Delhi. The AAP has become a “Dream Merchant without Delivery”. Their so-called “Delhi Model” is a “Hollow Model”. Their “Mohalla Clinic” concept, which is being publicised by the AAP on every platform, badly failed during the Corona period in providing even basic health facilities. The AAP Government has adopted the path of “confrontation politics” on each and every issue. They are in the habit of blaming the Centre for AAP’s failures and taking credit for the steps taken by the Centre for the welfare of the people of Delhi. The AAP had contested all seats in the UP Assembly polls but failed to win even a single seat and lost deposits on 349 seats. In Uttarakhand, they contested all 70 seats but failed to win a single seat and lost deposits on 68 seats. In Goa they contested 39 seats; lost deposits on 35 seats and won just 2 seats. The AAP only creates a fake atmosphere. They have failed to govern Delhi. They must realise that Punjab is a sensitive border state. They must refrain from “Gimmick Politics”. Their “Freebie Politics” of Delhi will not be able to sustain them in a state like Punjab. They must have to work with utmost sensitivity and sincerity in Punjab to fulfil the promises they made to the people of the state.
How are the BJP’s preparations for the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh?
A: The BJP takes every election with equal seriousness. We contest elections to win. The BJP, its leadership and its crores of dedicated Karykartas are on mission mode 365 days, 24/7. The BJP Governments have performed spectacularly in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The BJP will again win the Assembly election in both states.
Who is the BJP’s main challenger in these two states: Congress or AAP?
A: See, as I said earlier, the BJP Governments have worked for inclusive empowerment of every section in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The welfare schemes of the Modi Government and the state governments in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have brought “happiness in the eyes and prosperity in the life” of every needy. Be it youth, farmers, women, girls, labourers, traders or any other section, the BJP has worked for the welfare of all. The AAP is trying to sell “free dreams without reality”.
The graph of Congress has been steadily declining. The Grand Old Party has conceded much of the Opposition’s space to smaller parties like the AAP. Is it good for Indian democracy?
A: The BJP believes in democracy. There must be a constructive and positive opposition, it’s good for a vibrant democracy like India. For the Congress, which is “fixed in feudal family frame”, I can only say that when in power, the Congress used to get “hit wicket” every day, and now in Opposition, it is “bowling no-balls”. Over the decades, the Congress has been vanishing in several states, and the trend has been accelerating election after election. The Congress has become a “non-performing asset” which has no value. The Congress has become a “champion of confusion and contradiction”.
The recent hijab row and the Halal-Jhatka meat controversy in Karnataka are being seen as attempts to polarise the people of the state ahead of the Assembly elections. Your comment?
A: Some people are giving “Communal Colour” to decisions on dress code, discipline and decorum of institutions as a part of their conspiracy to defame India’s inclusive culture and commitment. Equal rights, dignity and prosperity of the minorities, including Muslims, are a part of India’s commitment to tolerance, harmony and inclusivity. “Bharat Bashing Brigade” has unfortunately once again received the support of Pakistan and even terrorist organisations on “Hijab Horror Hungama”. This ruckus has been created by those who are misinformed on uniform. Both the seen and unseen hands have been exposed. There is no ban on wearing hijab in India, it is clear. Of course, some institutions have their discipline, dress code and uniform. When we talk of the rights provided in the Constitution, we have to understand the importance of Constitutional duties also. The “Hijab Horror Hungama” is a well-planned conspiracy with the purpose of stopping the education of Muslim girls.
The minorities, especially the Muslims, appear to be feeling unsafe and living under constant fear ever since the BJP formed government at the Centre in 2014. How do you look at their condition?
A: For the last several decades, the so-called champions of Pseudo-Secularism had created a negative atmosphere among the minorities, especially Muslims against the BJP. They treated secularism as their political proprietorship to deceive the Constitutional essence of secularism. Those who have tainted records of betraying voters through “Professional Political Cocktail” of “Secular Tomato” in “Communal Tiffin” have been exposed now. Secularism is a Constitutional and a moral commitment for the BJP, but the pseudo-secular syndicate have misused secularism as a vote-catching tool. Their false and fabricated agenda has been exposed now. The Modi Government has demolished “Duping Appeasement” by “Determination to Development with Dignity”. The overwhelming support of all the sections for the BJP in the recent Assembly polls is a crystal clear reflection of the growing minorities’ trust in the leadership of the Prime Minister and the policies of the BJP.
What are the measures taken by your Ministry to instil a sense of security among minorities?
A: There is no fear among the minorities in India. The religious, social, educational and constitutional rights of minorities are absolutely safe in India. In India, minorities have an equal share in the development of the country and in the empowerment that is taking place. Economically and educationally all communities have equal opportunities and also have an equal share in progress and prosperity in India.