Modi will be PM for a long time
A member of the BJP’s Central Election Committee and former Union Minister, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, had the unique distinction of being the youngest ever politician to become a Cabinet Minister; he was a member of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government.
Hailing from Bihar’s Supaul district, the 49- year-old leader began his political career as an all India secretary of the BJP’s youth wing, Yuva Morcha.
He was elected to the 13th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabhas. A widely travelled and seasoned parliamentarian, Hussain lashed out against cow vigilantism and slammed Muslim organisations for opposing the government’s stand on triple talaq.
In an interview to DIPANKAR CHAKRABORTY, Hussain said Narendra Modi would continue to be Prime Minister of India for a long time to come.
Q: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has warned people against engaging in violence in the name of cow vigilantism. How it is going to impact the BJP’s Gau Raksha campaign?
A: People indulging in violence in the name of cow vigilantism are not members of the BJP. They are enemies of the BJP hell-bent on giving a bad name to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Their only aim is to weaken the BJP’s Gau Raksha Abhiyan. Cows must be protected. A big all-India Muslim delegation met me and pitched for cow protection. They don’t want to be held responsible for ‘Gau Hathya’ or cow slaughter.
Q: What does cow protection stand for?
A: The issue of cow protection has an emotive connect for the Hindu community. The movement for cow protection needs to be carried forward amicably. A meal sans beef can be a great catalytic for Hindu-Muslim unity. The BJP and Prime Minister Modi have condemned violent attacks on Junaid, Pehlu Khan and in Jharkhand or wherever they took place. The BJP will deal with a firm hand with anyone indulging in violence over cow protection.
Q: The BJP’s stand against triple talaq found widespread favour among Muslim women. Does the party want to abolish the practice?
A: The BJP has not taken up the issue of triple talaq as a religious matter. We see it as an issue impinging on the rights of women in the country. BJP has put forth its stand on the matter before the court. Had the Muslim Personal Law Board or Muslim society volunteered to take up the issue the matter would not have come to such a pass.
Q: How do you the see the issue of triple talaq away from the court and its proceedings?
A: We thought Muslim society and the Muslim Personal Law Board, by taking note of practices being followed in other Muslim countries, would take a stand against triple talaq. They refused any discussion on the matter, though later on they did go to court. Unlike the Shah Bano case, our government is not going to make any law to overturn the court order in the matter. We will accept it in letter and spirit.
Q: What needs to be done to deal with increasing cases of radicalism among Indian Muslim youth in some states?
A: Before he became the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister in an interview to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria had said Indian Muslim youth would prefer death to joining the Al-Qaida or any terror outfit. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has thanked Indian Muslims for rejecting Laden, Baghdadi, et al, outright. A handful of Indian Muslims out of a total population of about 20 crore might have joined these terror outfits. The government counseled them and brought them to the mainstream without putting them behind bars.
Q: What about Muslim youth in Kashmir? How do you see their open protest against Indian forces?
A: The situation in Kashmir can’t be compared with the situation in other parts of the country. Pakistan and ISI have tried and conspired to drive Kashmiri youth to join terror outfits. We are determined to thwart all such designs.
Q:What do you make of the Opposition game plan behind putting up a candidate against NDA’s presidential nominee?
A: The Congress is wont to oppose for the sake of opposing. They are neither fit to be in power nor in the opposition. Ten years of Manmohan Singh rule was marked by scams. Modi has managed to transform the country in the last three years of his rule. The Congress and TMC boycotted the joint session of Parliament on GST. They still have to go a long way to learn to become good opposition parties.
Q: Can the BJP’s ‘historic’ victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections be attributed to the Prime Minister’s dalit outreach initiative?
A: A wrong perception was created that the BJP is an upper class and forward castes’ party. A large number of Dalits, backwards and tribal leaders are with us. That perception has changed now. Now a poor person sees Prime Minister Modi as one of their ilk. Not just in 2019 and subsequently, Narendra Modi is going to remain the country’s Prime Minister for a long time to come.
Q: But why do the Muslims not come out and join the BJP in large numbers or express their loyalty to the party and its ideology?
A: I have been elected to the Lok Sabha three times in a row. A large number of Muslim councilors have been elected from Gujarat. Muslims have understood that the parties they had voted for years barely cared for them. Modi’s Ujjwala and other social welfare schemes are also benefiting Muslims. It is not fair to put the government in the dock over a few incidents of lynching of Muslims.
Q: The government has alleged that there is a nexus between the Wakf boards and mafia that has resulted in encroachment on Wakf properties in the country.
A: Many agencies are in illegal occupation of the Wakf properties in states across the country. In Paharganj many Masjids have been turned into guest houses. The wakf land should be cleared of all encroachments so that the land could be used for the welfare of poor Muslims.
Q: How long would it take to ensure that peace returns to Kashmir?
A: The situation will soon become normal. The terrorists are being eliminated. We love the people of Kashmir. They have nothing to do with terrorism. Hurriyat leaders should know that they no longer can deploy poor Kashmiri youth for creating unrest. The Prime Minister can take care of the people of Kashmir.
Source: The Statesman