BJP to launch nation-wide stir over PM’s Muslim remark

via ANI published on December 11, 2006

New Delhi: Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Parliamentary Committee met here on Tuesday and decided to launch a protest campaign against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks favouring minorities, especially Muslims.

Condemning the statement of the Prime Minister, BJP president Rajnath Singh said after the meeting that his party would launch a nation-wide protest against it from December 15 to 20.

“We firmly believe that the UPA government has no interest to govern the country but only plays vote bank politics. Therefore, we have decided in our Parliamentary Committee meeting today to hold a nationwide stir from December 15 to 20 in all states. We will conduct rallies, demonstrations and hand over a declaration to the respective provincial governors,” he said.

The BJP had stalled proceedings of the Parliament on Monday, demanding an apology from Manmohan Singh for his remarks that Muslims have “first claim on the country’s resources”.

Both Houses of the Parliament were immediately adjourned, and the BJP said Singh must apologise for his remarks.

Singh said that since important issues were to be discussed on the floor of the House and time was a constraint for the Winter Session of the Parliament, parliamentarians have decided to agitate over the issue in their respective constituencies.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and senior party leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Sushma Swaraj and M Venkaiah Naidu attended the BJP Parliamentary Committee meeting.

On Saturday, Manmohan Singh had told an economic development body that efforts should be made to ensure that the country’s minorities reap the benefits of development “…particularly the Muslim’s.”

His comments have since then sparked off protests and a demand for apology from the Opposition parties, who have accused Singh of playing ‘appeasement politics.’

A recent report of the Sachar Committee has revealed that the country’s Muslims are lagging far behind other communities in almost all fields.

The report, which is based on a research carried out by a high level committee appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is aimed at bridging the gap between the majority Hindus and minority Muslims.

The committee has stressed the need for introducing programmes that address the educational and economic needs of the Muslims.

Muslims account for 140 million out of India’s total 1.1 billion people. This accounts for the world’s third-largest Islamic population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.

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