Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no bias against Muslims and is, in fact, concerned about the lack of leadership among the community, former lieutenant governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung has said.
Jung, who took everyone by surprise when he quit on December 23, told India Today channel in an interview on Wednesday that Modi was concerned about his party BJP’s ties with Muslims.
Political rivals often accuse the Prime Minister of being prejudicial towards the minority community.
“In my own interaction with the PM, I found no bias. I have had long, long discussions with him. Even on issues of relationship with Muslims, I found no bias,” Jung said during the To The Point programme.
His comments assume significance as they come ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims account for 20% of the electorate.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal often targeted Jung for allegedly doing the bidding of the Modi government and not allowing him to perform his duties.
During one of the many standoffs, the CM took to Twitter, saying Jung wanted to be the vice-president and was trying to please Modi.
The presidential and vice-president polls are due later this year.
Jung said Modi and even he was concerned about Muslims’ relationship with the BJP. “I believe a lot of onus lies with the Muslim community also because if you look back, in the last 40 years Muslims have not produced a leader of their community... It is a community without leaders. And their leaders today what? ...Mr Bahuguna, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav?”
A former vice chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia University, Jung said the community needed to communicate with the government but “who goes to the PM to explain their perspective”?
“Modi is concerned about this. He has expressed his concern to me that he would like to win them over but who is talking to him.”
On the contentious issue of triple talaq, Jung said Muslims should themselves discontinue the divorces practice, which was retrograde and not in the interest of women. “Parliament itself would have taken a view on this. If the Parliament doesn’t have the courage to upset the Muslim community then the courts must certainly step in.”
Religious leaders should sit together to decide on uniform civil code, Jung said, adding he was opposed to it being “rammed down somebody’s throat”.
“The unified civil code applies to all the communities; just not the Muslims. I think it is time for the community to sit together; various religious leaders to sit together and resolve this matter,” he said.