Now, Bharti and Naqvi say BJP should have fielded Muslims in UP polls

New Delhi, (IANS): Union Ministers Uma Bharti and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday echoed Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s stand on the BJP fielding Muslim candidates in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

Bharti, Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, said the Bharatiya Janata Party made a “huge mistake” by not fielding any Muslim candidate.

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Her Cabinet colleague Naqvi too said it would have been better if their party had fielded Muslim candidates.

Rajnath Singh had earlier said Muslims should have been given tickets by the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

“I am really feeling sorry that we could not field a Muslim. I spoke with (BJP President) Amit Shah and (state party President) Keshav Prasad Maurya about how we could have brought a Muslim to the assembly,” Uma Bharti told CNN-News18.

“Rajnath ji has said the right thing — we could have given ticket (to Muslims),” she said.

Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “As far as tickets are concerned, it would have been better (if tickets were given to Muslims).”

“We will address their concern by compensating them when we form the government in the state,” Naqvi said, without explaining it further.

Rajnath Singh, in an interview to Times Now last week, said: “We’ve given tickets to minorities in many other states… talks must have happened here (in UP) as well… I was not there; this is based on what I have learnt. Maybe, they (BJP Parliamentary Board) didn’t find any (winnable Muslim candidate). But I believe even they (Muslims) should get it.”

Bharti’s comments met with opposition from her party colleague and Rajya Sabha member Vinay Katiyar who questioning the logic of BJP fielding Muslims.

“When Muslims do not vote for us, why should we give ticket to them?” Katiyar asked.