BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma has said that the Muslim community keeps a distance from the party and "does not want to get associated with development," three days after saying that Muslims do "not vote for the BJP" because it's "a patriotic party."
After addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district, Verma told reporters: "We don't care about any vote bank. Muslims have never voted for us and they never will. It is a very simple matter. Why is every terrorist in the country a Muslim and why do Muslims not vote for BJP. Because the BJP is a patriotic party, that's why Muslims don't vote for us. We don't care about any particular community. We will build the Ram Mandir."
Verma, who is the son of late Union minister and former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma, also told ANI: "Our government did not bring schemes for any particular community. Even Muslims can get benefits from all those schemes. But still, I believe the Muslim community keeps a distance when it comes to voting for the BJP. The Muslim community votes for all political parties except the BJP."
He added: "Are Muslim children in madrasas being provoked against the BJP? When I was asked why only the BJP is called a nationalist party, I said why terrorists in the nation are only Muslims and why Muslims do not vote for the BJP. Because it (the community) does not want to come in the mainstream and does not want to get associated with development. (BSP chief) Mayawati has said that if Muslims vote for her, she can make the government."
When asked why the Muslim community does not vote for BJP, Verma said, "I think the most relevant issue is the relation between India and Pakistan. Why are terrorists only Muslims? From where do they get all the funding and from where do they get all the weapons?" the Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, Congress's chief minister-candidate for the upcoming UP elections Shiela Dikshit has lashed out at Verma for his statements. "It brings out the agenda of the BJP in UP. It is a communal statement. The party believes in dividing society on communal lines. Whether this is a poll gimmick or not, at no point can these statements be made," she said.
"They should realise that our country is one, where following a religion is everyone's fundamental right and we respect all religions equally. Peace has to be maintained in society," she added.