Heptulla to RSTV: Oppn polarising Kairana exodus

Neelu Vyas

Najma-Heptulla-interviewKairana exodus is not a communal but a law and order issue, says Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla. In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Heptulla said that families fled because of lack of jobs. She blamed the Opposition was trying to polarise the issue.

Heptulla slammed the Samjawadi Party government for the deteriorating law and order in the state and the complete absence of development. She even targeted the Opposition for instilling fear among the Muslim population.

She admitted that Ram Temple was a serious issue for the BJP but it will not be raked during Uttar Pradesh elections scheduled to take place next year. On being asked about the double narrative of development and Hindutva agenda of the BJP, Heptulla said her party stood only for development.

Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:

When the BJP came to power two years ago, there was an impression that a large section of muslims felt alienated?

The fear was created by the Opposition parties who didn’t want Narendra Modi to be successful. They were creating an atmosphere that if Modiji becomes PM, Muslims will be ill-treated and Minority Affairs ministry will be dissolved.

What difference has your ministry made?

There’s been a major increase in the Ministry’s budget. 99% of the budget is spent on growth schemes. There are now skill development programmes in madrasa. Religion is not the way to earn a living. Direct benefit transfers for minorities, World Bank loan for skill development, launching of USTAD scheme in Banaras where 5000 Muslim women are employed in jute industry, are some of the achievements of the ministry.

Despite these ambitious programmes, you have people like Sadhvi Prachi and Yogi Aditya Nath talking about issues like the Ram temple?

Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya, we are clear about that but Ram temple will not be a poll issue anymore, at least not in Uttar Pradesh.

Situation in Kairana was made out to be big. The situation was compared to the plight of the Kashmiri Hindus in 1990s?

UP is plagued by the law & order problem, joblessness. The migration is because of lawlessness.

There is an impression that the Kairana incident is being given a communal colour?

BJP’s core focus is development. The Opposition is indulging in the polarisation game. Let me tell you that Muslims are fearless. PM Modi has been felicitated even in the muslim countries. There is global support for PM Modi’s anti-terror agenda. Kairana is a result of law & order situation. Uttar Pradesh needs a change.

The biggest problem that the BJP is facing in Uttar Pradesh is that it does not have faces – who will be your CM candidate?

The CM candidate will be decided by party top brass.

Is Varun Gandhi not a new headache for the BJP…the way he became the poster boy during the Allahabad BJP national executive?

Varun’s posters were not put up by the party. It was his supporters who did that. He should not have crossed the party line.

Your name is in the race for the Vice President, or probably the post of Governor after a cabinet reshuffle? Is any of that true?

I cannot answer a hypothetical question. Am not an astrologer, whatever will be, will be – Que Sera Sera…