Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi backs VP Hamid Ansari’s comments on affirmative action for minorities

New Delhi(PTI): Senior BJP leader and minister of state Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday backed Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s comments on the plight of the minorities, saying there is a need for affirmative action to uplift them. “Whatever he (Ansari) has said is correct. I feel his comments are correct. Those are not against BJP or the NDA government, but are against the ignorance in empowering the minorities at a systemic level since the Independence,” Naqvi said.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

“There is ignorance in empowering the minorities at a systemic level since the Independence,” Naqvi said. File Photo

When asked specifically whether he is for affirmative action to uplift the status of the minorities, he said, “definitely. I feel there should be some action on this.” The comments from the BJP leader, who is among the few Muslim faces of the ruling party, are a departure from the critical remarks made by sections in his party after the speech by Ansari late last month, stirring up a debate on the issue.

Speaking at the golden jubilee function of AIMMM – apex body of Muslim outfits – here on August 31, Ansari had said, “Identity and security, education and empowerment and fair share in decision-making are the principal problems confronting India’s Muslims and the default in terms of exclusion and discrimination have to be corrected by the state.”

The Vice-President also cited the official objective of “Sab ke sath, sab ka vikas (with everyone, for everyone’s growth)” calling it commendable and added a pre-requisite for this is “affirmative action” to ensure a common starting point and ability in all to walk at the required pace. The comments had come in for a sharp criticism from the BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya, who termed the remarks as “communal”.

“A Vice-President’s post is a Constitutional position pertaining to the entire country and not to a particular community. Ansari’s statement that ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ would be more effective if Muslims were specially taken care of or got reservations goes against Constitutional proprieties,” Vijaywargiya had said.

When sought his views on the controversial decision of the Mumbai civic bodies to ban meat in the megapolis, the minister said the decision is driven by being sensitive towards the sentiment of the Jains and that we should not create a controversy out of it. Asked about the ally Shiv Sena posturing aggressively against the ban, he said it is a democratic country and one is free to express one’s opinion. On the forthcoming Bihar elections, Naqvi said the polls are “GDP versus ABC” and exuded confidence that the NDA’s development plank will be chosen by the people over the alternative of anarchy.

The GDP stands for good governance, development and progress, while ABC stands for anarchy, bad governance and corruption, he added.