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Govt gets set to begin minority outreach

PUBLISHED ON SEP 28, 2016 07:45 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ s government will roll out an outreach for minorities, particularly Muslims who are perceived to be in different to India’s ruling party, from Thursday.

About 100 ‘ Progressive Panchayats’ are planned in minority dominated pockets to clear apprehensions about the Modi regime. The three-four month long exercise starts with an event at Muslim-dominated Mewat in Haryana on September 29 and will end with “Antyodaya Samagam” in New Delhi. “Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and junior minister for planning Rao Inderjit Singh will attend the programme at Mewat,” a government source told HT.

Similar events will follow in Punjab and Maharashtra, but no plan for Uttar Pradesh is finalised yet. “People might link it with election. Our intention is different,” the source said.

Every event will be followed with some announcement about development schemes and an exercise to dispel misconception about the BJP government. Prominent local personalities will be given a place on the dais along with ministers and other dignitaries.

This, government leaders say, is an exercise in keeping with Modi’s effort to address the ‘image problem’ and bring immediate change in the lives of minority communities.

A BJP leader claimed what Modi started at Kozhikode was a tactical shift in the party’s strategy to expand social base. It wants to tap disillusionment among Muslims towards regional parties, which could help soften their resistance towards the BJP.

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