NEW DELHI: Hate for the BJP has been planted in the minds of minorities for 70 years and it cannot be wiped out in 70 days or seven years, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Friday, asserting that the effect of this "poison" is now receding.
Though the BJP was founded in 1980, its precursor Jan Sangh had been active since the 1950s.
Naqvi asserted that minorities are feeling "completely safe" under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership as he has not indulged in any political exploitation of minorities for votes and has done development without discrimination.
In an interview to PTI, the Minority Affairs Minister said the prime minister's population control pitch cannot be looked through a religious prism and the government wanted to act on this through awareness and not by the "Emergency-style" control as done by the Congress.
"A growing economy can never ignore population explosion. Awareness is needed and society should be sensitised. Muslim community population has gone down. Those giving it communal angle have no knowledge," Naqvi said.
"There should be awareness (on population control). It should be carried out as a mission like the cleanliness drive for which no law was made," he said.
On the acquittal of all accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case in Rajasthan, Naqvi said law and order is a state subject and it is the responsibility of the state government to take action against perpetrators of such crime.
"Any crime that happens should be dealt with strongly. No crime should be looked upon from the communal angle," he said.
Asked if Prime Minister Modi's popularity among minorities has gone up after the government's triple talaq law, Naqvi said the government's move on triple talaq, Article 370, demonetisation and GST, were reform measures and not intended for popularity.
However, he said minorities have "strong trust" on Modi as they have realised that there are no riots and no atmosphere of discrimination under the his leadership.
On why the BJP was still not electorally dominant in areas with a large number of people from minority communities, he said: "In 70 years, hate has been planted in the minds (of minorities) for the BJP.
"This cannot be wiped out in 70 days or seven years. But, I am very much confident and satisfied that the effect of this poison on a large scale is receding."
Minorities are also realising that they are also benefiting from this atmosphere of inclusive development, he said, adding that there has been an increase in Modi's popularity among minorities.
Naqvi also hit out at those contending that intolerance has been growing in the society, saying it was Modi who has been "the biggest victim of political intolerance" despite overwhelmingly winning people's confidence.
Asked if the government will move forward on its poll promise of bringing in the Uniform Civil Code, he said there has been "no discussion on this at any level".