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Mayawati, opposition looking to exploit minorities: Rajnath Singh

He also made light of perceived Priyanka Gandhi effect on the ongoing elections. “If she has come into politics, she should work. We have no objection,” Singh said.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 12, 2019, 07.59 AM IST
The home minister also claimed that Congress’ ‘Nyay’ promise of minimum income was simply not implementable.
On Board HMs Aircraft: Terming Mayawati’s appeal to Muslims to vote for the Alliance as “extremely unfortunate”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said such statements are intended to create a fear in the minds of the Muslims against BJP and are not expected in a healthy democracy.

Speaking to ET during his election campaign in Chhattisgarh on Thursday, Singh claimed the BJP had never discriminated against the minorities. Mayawati last Sunday had said in Deoband that Muslims should vote only for the Alliance to keep BJP out of power. “Appeal for votes should not be made on basis of caste, creed or communal. In a healthy democracy this is not expected from any political leader. These statements are intended to create a fear in the minds of the Muslims against the BJP. And they have exploited the minorities on this – be it Samajwadi Party, BSP or the Congress. Despite the fact being that whichever state or in the Centre where BJP is in power, there has been no discrimination in governance when it comes to the minorities,” Rajnath Singh told ET in an interview.

When asked if it isn’t a fact that Muslims don’t vote for BJP, Singh said some Muslims do. “Some do (vote for us) but not as many as they should. This is true. Jitna milna chahiye utna nahin milta hai (We do not get as many votes from Muslims as we should). Hum unko apne se door nahin lejana chahte (we do not want to distance Muslims from us). We want to bring them close to us,” Singh said. He stressed that even if Muslims don’t vote for BJP, “we are not of the view that we should stay away from them or hate them”. If we want to make India strong, we need cooperation of every citizen and develop capability of all Indians,” he said. Singh chose not to comment on ‘Ali-Bajrangbali’ comments made by UP CM Yogi Adityanath.

Singh also made light of the Priyanka Gandhi factor for the Congress in these elections. “If she has come into politics, she should work. We have no objection,” Singh said. Asked if she would have an impact, Singh said: “Abhi iske mulyankan karne ke haalat hi nahin hain, na hi zaroorat hai (I don’t think there is any situation yet or any need to make that assessment). Koi chinta ki baat nahin hai, koi parenshani ki baat nahin hai (There is nothing to worry for us). The Home Minister also told ET that the NYAY promise of the Congress was simply not implementable. “Is it even possible to give Rs 72000 a year to 20 Cr people? You yourself imagine. It is not even possible. This is purely to mislead the poor. Congress has done this misleading the poor for many years – and made governments in the name of the poor. But poverty was never finished. Poverty should not just be made an issue – there is need to actually work on it. There should be whole-hearted full commitment to remove poverty – only we are doing it,” Singh said. He pointed to BJP’s promise in its manifesto to offer the PM Kisan Nidhi income support scheme of Rs 6000 a year to all farmers in the country “so that no one remains disappointed.” The total Rs 6000 for this year will reach the farmers within three months of BJP government being formed in May, Rajnath Singh told ET.

The Home Minister also termed the Congress promise of tinkering with AFSPA as unfortunate and one that will promote lawlessness. “We keep on reviewing AFSPA. We have removed it from Meghalaya, Tripura and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. If situation becomes normal, we remove ASFPA. But to say that we will review and remove AFSPA without any assessment, this is promoting unlawlesness. Our security forces will de demoralised and face helplessness in maintaining law and order. If situation normalises in J&K, we will review it. But if terrorist incidents keep on happening, we will not do it,” the home minister was clear. Asked by ET about BJP’s manifesto promise to remove Article 370 and 35A from J&K, Singh said: “If someone keeps on saying there should be two PM’s, what do we do? This cannot be tolerated.” Asked that BJP promised status quo on the same in the agenda of alliance with PDP, he said: “But that alliance is over”

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