Many states demanded NRC for long time: Naqvi

Many states demanded NRC for long time: Naqvi

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is the most prominent Muslim face of the BJP and has been in forefront in defending the saffron party for last two decades—be it on the Ram Temple issue or the recent controversies surrounding NRC or taking away special status of Jammu Kashmir through abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and 35 A. DH catches up with him for a freewheeling interview.

After Assam where the NRC list has led to a lot of controversy, BJP leaders in a number of states have started demanding NRC there. Why NRC demand everywhere?

The issue of illegal immigration is there for a long time. People have been against the infiltration of foreigners for a long time. We cannot ignore it. No country can ignore it. While the right of true citizens should be protected at all costs, those who are illegal citizens should be sent back.

Don’t you see some politics in BJP leaders in three of the four poll-going states demanding NRC now just months before elections?

This has no relation to elections. Such demands were being made in the whole country for quite some time. A number of states like Bihar, West Bengal, Delhi saw this demand earlier. Any country can ignore the problem of illegal immigrants only at its peril. They should be identified and deported back to the countries of their origin.

This round of assembly elections—in three states this year and in Delhi next year--- is first major electoral exercise after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. What are the issues with which you will go to the people?

The main planks with which we will go to people are good governance and stability. We will seek their vote for a strong stable government.

BJP has planned to hold awareness programmes at nearly 400 places in the country on abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir. Why this has been done just before state elections. Is it also not an electoral issue for you?

Abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir is a very big historical step. It reflects the commitment of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards nationalism. This historical decision, due for long, has now become possible during the tenure of Modi government. Only now it has become possible and there is one law, one Constitution (ek vidhan, ek samvidhan) in the country. Every BJP worker is proud of this and we will definitely talk about it.

But do you foresee any immediate end to communication lockdown in Kashmir Valley? Opposition parties have raised concerns over this.

This (abrogation of the provision of Article 370) is not an ordinary decision. People who were hampering the interests of people and furthering their own by using 370 as a shield are now naturally restless. Unfortunately, there are some people in our country, who are singing in tune with the separatists. It will be better for those who are acting as confidantes of terrorists to become confidantes of nation-building.

Some of the recent actions, which BJP cites as examples of its zero-tolerance towards corruption, have raised charges of a political witchhunt by the Opposition. To name a few --- former finance minister P Chidambaram was sent to jail, so was D K Shivakumar from Karnataka. Why only leaders from Opposition are going to jails?

Did Modi ji give any assurance to the champions of dishonesty (beimani ke bahubali) that they can continue with their loot and there will not be any action against them? These actions prove that in Modi’s rule nobody is above law irrespective of how big and influential he is.

There has been a buzz that the government is going to bring in an anti-conversion law. Is there some truth to it?

There are already different laws in many states to check conversion. Though there is no such exact discussion right now on the issue of bringing a bill on it, there are definitely concerns regarding it — the conversion being carried out under force or allurement.

Recently, the Supreme Court observed that no effort has been taken to bring in Uniform Civil Code despite expectations by the Constitution framers and nudges by the top court. Is Modi government making any push towards bringing UCC?

There is a kind of direction given by Article 44 of the Constitution that says that states should take initiative towards framing the Uniform Civil Code. If the governments so far have not taken any step towards doing this, this should not be an excuse to say that this government should also not make efforts to bring it. There are many misgivings about the UCC that it will undermine the fundamental rights of people, their constitutional rights will go. Almost 80 percent of what we call UCC is already in implementation in Goa but no one’s fundamental rights have gone. There is a need to spread awareness about it in society.

After the 2019 poll victory, Prime Minister added a word “Sabka Vishwas” to his earlier slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. What have you done to win that? What are the key steps for the welfare of minorities that you have taken in Modi 2.0?

Ever since the Modi government got the mandate in 2014, it has worked with the plank of ‘development without discrimination and empowerment without appeasement’. So all the measures taken for employment and education have very much benefited minorities. Nobody has got excluded. There has been no discrimination in the name of religion or community in last more than five years. So after 2019, there was no need for any unique method to win the trust of people. This is already part of the practice. In his 15 years rule as Gujarat Chief Minister, Modi has proved what it is called "sabka saath, sabka vishwas" and after his five years tenure as Prime Minister, he has won “sabka vishwas”.