Opposition's "fear-mongering" campaign has been "demolished" by the government's development without discrimination approach, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said today, and exuded confidence that 30-35 per cent minorities, including Muslims, will vote for the BJP in 2019.
"We can't say that the poison that had been spread in the last 70 years, we have completely eradicated that. But, the positive thing is that now the minorities are treating the BJP as a reality of Indian politics and they are supporting it on the basis of its merit and demerits," he said.
In the 2014 elections, 18-20 per cent people from the minority communities had voted for Modi, Naqvi said.
"In the 2019 polls, I am expecting 30-35 per cent people from the minority communities, including Muslims, will vote for the BJP to continue the development journey of the country," the minister said.
He also claimed that no big communal riot has taken place since Modi has taken over.
"After the Modi government came to power, outside Kashmir, has there been any big terrorist attack or has there been any communal riot?" the Rajya Sabha MP said, listing a series of attacks that took place during the previous UPA government.
"No big communal riot happened in the country (under this government)...It has been our endeavour that the atmosphere in the country remains fear-free and there is harmony among all sections of the society, and along with that there is no criminal, terrorist and communal activity in any part of the country," Naqvi said.
He alleged that there was an effort to create "fabricated" fear through measures such as the 'award wapsi' programme and other accusatory political statements.
Naqvi also claimed that in the 10 years of the UPA rule, about 530 innocent Muslims were sent to jail after being dubbed as terrorists.
"In our government, not a single innocent Muslim has been put in jail after being dubbed as a terrorist or branded as anti-national. The previous government which was 'secular' had sent so many Muslims to jail wrongly and the courts released 90 per cent of them saying the charges against them were wrong," he claimed.
Asked if the government had done enough to win over the minorities, especially Muslims, he said when the BJP came to power, its political opponents tried to create wrong perceptions in the minds of the minorities.
Their first campaign was that with the coming of the Modi government, India's relationship with the Arab countries and some other nations will be dented and Muslims will not be safe.
"Development for dignity, with dignity, is our commitment and agenda. When you don't associate the development agenda with the agenda to garner votes, there will always be a positive impact," he said, citing various steps taken by the government for the welfare of minority communities such as increase in the number of scholarships, more employment opportunities and skill development.
The government has worked for the development of minorities without any discrimination, Naqvi asserted.
Asked about low-level of representation to Muslims in the distribution of tickets by the BJP in state and parliamentary elections, he said, "I don't believe that political representation should be connected to ticket distribution. Those political parties that have considered ticket distribution to be the yardstick of socio-economic and educational empowerment of the minorities, they have not been honest."
"The percentage of the representation of the minority community people, especially the Muslims, in assemblies and Parliament has been going down in the last 40-45 years. The BJP cannot be blamed as it was not in power (for all those years).
"Ticket is not given in the BJP on the basis of Muslim, Hindu, backward, forward, we see who is eligible, capable and who has done good work... If there are capable Muslim candidates they will get it," Naqvi said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)