Despite Muslims constituting less than 20 percent of Uttar Pradesh's population, every third beneficiary of government schemes in the state is from the Muslim community, claimed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during an exclusive interview with Network18 Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi.
At the receiving end of accusations alleging that the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government "favours" the Hindu majority, Adityanath Wednesday claimed that the Uttar Pradesh government had not discriminated among beneficiaries, rather if one were to look up statistics, Muslims had availed greater proportion of welfare schemes.
When asked what was his relationship with Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath said that he does not discriminate among anyone living in the state. "I have the same relationship with them that I have with the rest of the people. We don't divide the society on the basis of caste and religion," he said.
When Adityanath was elected to power, apart from concerns that a "saffron-clad priest" is taking up administrative duties of a crucial state, which has faced the brunt of communal flare-ups quite often, analysts had raised red flag over the chief minister's earlier statements made about the minority. Sample these for example:
"There have been 450 riot cases in west UP (Uttar Pradesh) in two-and-a-half years of Samajwadi Party rule because the population of a particular community is rising manifold. Why are there no riots in eastern UP? You can easily understand. In places where there are 10-20 percent minority population, stray communal incidents take place. Where there are 20-35 percent of them, serious communal riots take place and where they are more than 35 percent, there is no place for non-Muslims."
"If they (read Muslims) convert one Hindu girl, we will convert 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, then 100 we too will…" (the crowd had completed the sentence).
"Yogi is not talking about today, Yogi is talking about future. Exodus is a very big issue for us. BJP will not let western Uttar Pradesh turn into another Kashmir."
When asked about the past statements made by him, Adityanath told News18: "I might have given statements considering the situation at the time."
However, Adityanath said that his government had not discriminated among beneficiaries, and if one were to look up statistics, Muslims had availed greater proportion of welfare schemes.
"See, poor is poor. Government plans should reach everybody without discrimination. It has been our motive that development is for everybody. Remember, in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. This is not a slogan, this is a reality and we are proud that we took everything to the ground-level."
He added, "If we have given 25 lakh houses, all were not for Hindus. Muslim population in Uttar Pradesh is 18 percent, but 30-35 percent houses have gone to Muslims."
Adityanath claimed that hard facts point to a state which is not discriminating. He also said that Muslims have gotten twice as many houses, in proportion to their population than Hindus.
"It is double. There were poor Muslims, they needed benefits and we provided them. We did not provide help because they were Muslims. We defined a criteria and whoever fell into that category got the benefits. For us, it is the citizen of the state that matters," the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who is through half of his five year tenure, said.
The Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh completed the half-way mark – 2.5 years of its stipulated five-year term – on Wednesday. The chief minister faces his first big test, after the 2019 general elections, in what is being called a mini-assembly election with 13 Assembly of Uttar Pradesh going to bypolls in the coming months.
Updated Date: Sep 19, 2019 20:07:43 IST