New Delhi: Speaking in the Gujarat assembly on Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that the BJP’s tally in the state assembly elections last year was restricted to 99 seats because “butchers”. “bootleggers” and those opposing the proposed triple talaq bill didn’t vote for the party.
In the elections held last December, the BJP retained power for a sixth term in the state, though with a reduced number of seats. The Congress won 77 seats in the 182-member house.
Speaking on the motion of thanks to governor O.P. Kohli on the first day of the Budget session, Jadeja, Gujarat’s minister of state for home, said, “I (will) tell you who did not vote for us. It was those butchers who were angry at us for introducing a tough anti-cow slaughter law. It was bootleggers who were angry because the BJP government has introduced a tough prohibition law.”
“Many school owners were unhappy because we brought a law to cap their fees. Those who were angry with the BJP government at the Centre for introducing a bill to protect Muslim women against triple talaq also did not give us votes. But we are not bothered about them,” he said.
Taking a dig at the Congress, Jadeja said the party had gained only 77 seats despite its leaders trying to incite people through casteist and communal mobilisation. “Congress leaders used to claim ahead of the polls that the party will come to power by winning over 125 seats. However, they got only 77 seats.” He also claimed that BJP came to power “with the votes of rural people, youths who got employment and women who benefited from the policies of the government.”
Jadeja is not the only BJP minister guilty of making such offensive remarks. A number of other BJP Union and state ministers too have been in the news recently and not so recently, for making derogatory comments about Muslims and delivering blatantly communal speeches. Notwithstanding protests from various quarters, the continued silence of BJP’s top leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has ensured immunity for such guilty legislators.
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BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, for example, regularly stirs up controversy with his offensive anti-Muslim comments. Earlier this month, he said Muslims should leave India. “Doosri baat ye hai, Musalman iss desh mein rehna hi nahi chahye, unhone jansankhya ke aadhaar par desh ka batwara kardia toh iss desh mein rehne ki kya avashyakta thi? Unko alag bhu-bhaag de dia gaya, Bangladesh ya Pakistan jaayen yahan kya kaam hai unka? (Muslims should not stay in India. They divided the nation on the basis of population. So, what’s the need of them staying here (in India)? They have been given lands. (They) should go to Bangladesh or Pakistan),” he had told news agency ANI.
That was not all. Katiyar further said there should be a bill to punish those who do not respect Vande Matram. “There should be a bill that punishes those who do not respect Vande Matram, those who insult the national flag… those who hoist the Pakistani flag, they should be punished.”
Commenting on the violence that had broken out in Kasganj on Republic day, Katiyar blamed “pro-Pakistani” elements for the incident.
Earlier, the MP declared that Taj Mahal will be converted into Tej mandir soon. Speaking about the ‘Taj Mahotsav’ in Agra, the minister said “Call it Taj Mahotsav or Tej Mahotsav both are the same things. There is not much difference between Taj and Tej. Our Tej Mandir has been turned into a cremation ground by Aurangzeb. Taj Mahal will be converted into Tej Mandir soon.”
None other than the powerful Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was charged with making hate speeches during the 2007 communal riot in Gorakhpur – a constituency he has represented for five consecutive terms since 1998. He was however acquitted by the Allahabad high court on Thursday.
BJP MLA Banwari Lal Singhal from Rajasthan had begun this year with anti-Muslim remarks via a Facebook post. The January 1 post, ahead of the Alwar by-polls on January 29, alleged that Muslims were bearing more children with the aim to outnumber Hindus and take control of the country by 2030.
“Muslims were giving birth to 12-14 children… While Hindus restrict the number to one or two. The way Muslim population is increasing, the existence of Hindus is in danger. It is a well-planned conspiracy to have a Muslim in the chair of president, prime minister and chief ministers,” he had said.
Data however does not support Singhal’s remarks. According to 2011 census data on religion, the Muslim population stood at 172 million and the Hindu population at 966 million. Since the 2001 census, the Hindu population has increased by 139 million and the Muslim population by 34 million.
With PTI inputs