Wrong to say Modi is divider-in-chief: Shahnawaz

BJP leader and former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain. (PTI File Photo)

Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain has taken umbrage at Time Magazine cover story: India’s divider in chief. In an exclusive interview to Abhay Kumar of Deccan Herald, the former Lok Sabha member from Bihar’s Bhagalpur parliamentary constituency said that contrary to general perception, “Modi never discriminates against minorities.”

Excerpts:

Q: Earlier there was a perception in India that Prime Minister Narendra Modi discriminates against minorities. But this has now been mentioned in the international media too where he has been portrayed as “India’s divider in chief.”

Shahnawaz Hussain: It’s wrong to call Modi Ji as divider in chief. I have served BJP for more than three decades. As a prominent Muslim face of the BJP, I can say with utmost responsibility that the PM genuinely believes in ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.

Q: How can you say so when there have been so many incidents of mob lynching in different parts of the country during Modi’s five-year tenure?

SH: It’s true that some incidents of mob lynching took place. But it’s equally true that the Prime Minister condemned such incidents. As a consequence, such incidents did not recur.

Q: But are you aware that Muslims are so angry with the BJP….

SH: ….(interrupts) Before the 2014 elections, an impression was created that Muslims will suffer immensely if Modi comes to power. But five years down the line, there has not been a single riot in the country. A section of media has always tried to show Modi ji in poor light. Now the international media too has started doing so. This is not fair.

Q: If the international media is saying so, it’s because the national media has never highlighted the deep divide BJP has sown between not only Hindus and Muslims, but between friends, relatives and the society in general.

SH: I completely disagree with you. Why would Modi ji divide or discriminate against anyone? When he launched health schemes like Ayushman Bharat, did he discriminate between Hindus and Muslims? Or for that matter, when he launched Kisan Samman Yojna, did he discriminate the beneficiary on the religious ground?

Q: The biggest example of discrimination is you. Being a prominent Muslim face of the BJP, you were denied a ticket. In fact, the BJP did not give a ticket to any Muslim candidate.

SH: Wrong. The BJP has given tickets to Muslims in West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. So far as my case is concerned, I had lost in Bhagalpur during 2014 polls. So, the seat went to our alliance partner - the JD (U).

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