Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad stirred a controversy on Friday by claiming that the BJP has given Muslims "proper sanctity" even though the religious community does not vote for the saffron party.
The religious community is already in a tussle with the government over certain aspects of the triple talaq issue and its abolition and the statements Prasad made at a summit in New Delhi on Friday evening may further antagonise them.
What Prasad said
The Union minister was responding to a question on culture being impacted by development when he said: "We have got 13 chief ministers of our own. We are ruling the country. Have we victimised any Muslim gentleman working in the industry or service? Have we dismissed them? We don't get Muslim votes. I acknowledge very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not?"
He added: "We salute diversity and culture of India. There are two ways of looking at it. Let me be very frank today. There has been campaign against us for a very long time, but today we are here because of blessings of people of India."
How it can affect the BJP
The BJP has been time and again accused of taking the right-wing and Hindutva approach in whatever state it is currently ruling. One such approach is the ban on beef and cow slaughter enacted in several of the states the saffron party rules, like Haryana and Maharashtra. Beef is consumed primarily by Muslims in India.
Now, with Prasad's statements, the BJP will be on the crosshairs of Muslim groups — especially political ones — across the country. It could also face some rebellion from within, because it has its own Minority Wing, which actively campaigns for votes from religious minorities like Muslims.
Prasad's statements may also lose the BJP some Muslim votes in the coming elections. The Muslim vote bank the saffron party has will clearly not be happy with these comments.