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Heptullah favours development talk over sloganeering

With a controversy raging over Devendra Fadnavis and Ramdev’s remarks on ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ slogan, Union Minister Najma Heptulla today pitched for “development talk” over sloganeering and noted such political speeches were responsible for things going “wrong” in the country earlier.

Heptulla also dismissed suggestions that a fear psychosis was prevailing among minorities in the country at present.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of ‘National Conference of Ministers and Secretaries of Minority Affairs in States and Union Territories’, she said, “You don’t give any reaction on such issues, talk only about development. You have to give bread and butter, train children, have to move forward.

“Things went wrong in our country (earlier) because of such political speeches, which were deviating from development. We don’t want to talk about slogans, but development,” the Union Minority Affairs Minister said.

The Minister stated that such controversies are created in order to “divert” focus of the NDA Government from its developmental works.

When pointed out by reporters that such statements were recently made mostly by representatives of the ruling party, Heptulla said, “Let people say what they want” as she insisted on “discussion over developmental talk” only.

The Minister also stressed that she wants to “act and not react as it is her responsibility now that she is in power”. Fadnavis had last week said that those unwilling to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ have no right to stay in the country.

Ramdev had triggered controversy by stating that he respects the law of the land and Constitution otherwise “lakhs of heads would have been cut for opposing the chanting of Bharat Mata ki jai”.

Meanwhile, the Minister said she was “sad” that not many of minority affairs ministers/representatives of non-BJP-ruled states turned up for the conference, probably the first such attempt by the present NDA Government after it was formed nearly two years ago.

“I am not disappointed, I am sad. It is not we who are going to lose anything, it is their loss. This shows they are not interested in welfare of the minorities,” she said talking about states like Uttar Pradesh and Delhi which were not represented.

In her inaugural speech, the Union Minister informed the attendees — comprising state ministers, minority commission members and officials — about the various initiatives of the Centre and sought cooperation of regional governments in implementing centrally-sponsored schemes.

She said imparting education to students from six minority communities remains high on her Government’s agenda.

Among other issues, the Minister also told state ministers that the Centre wanted to develop Waqf properties for empowerment of Muslims by bridging the economic deficit.

“If there is a doubt that we will take away these properties, it is not so. We want to develop these for empowerment of people. We don’t want to take the properties,” she assured.