Kanpur: Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Saturday termed the intelligentsia returning their awards as "long forgotten" and blamed BJP's "traditional and professional opponents" for trying to project an "atmosphere of intolerance" in the country.
"Failing to trace mistakes or corruption during the 17 months of Modi government, the traditional and professional opponents of BJP brought some long-forgotten scientists and artists to the forefront who are returning awards citing an atmosphere of intolerance and that the country is moving on the lines of Pakistan," the MoS for Minority Affairs said.
He said this after addressing a rally here on the occasion of 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
"In Pakistan common people are gunned down in mosques and public areas. Is anything like that happening here? Peace is prevailing in this country," the Union Minister said.
"To those who are returning their awards over an environment of fear and terror in the country, I would like to ask, if really that would have been the case, could they express themselves so freely as they are doing now," he said.
The Opposition talk about secularism, but when a terrorist is killed it is linked to religion, Naqvi said.
"Congress leader Salman Khurshid had said that following Batala house encounter in Delhi, party president Sonia Gandhi couldn't sleep the whole night," the Union Minister said.
He stated that at a time when leaders of African nations are in the country for India-Africa Summit and are pledging to pitch for India's permanent seat in the UNSC, we should present a face of unity before them.On the Centre's decision to celebrate Sardar Patel's birth anniversary as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day, Naqvi said, "The Union government wants the unity of the nation and previously major celebrations used to be organised only for the Gandhi family members."
The Union minister said the Centre has decided to take various important steps for the development of the nation and that passing the GST Bill in the upcoming winter session of Parliament was the primary concern of the government.
The Centre would again start discussion on Judicial Reforms Bill which has been struck down by the Supreme Court recently, Naqvi said.
On Amit Shah's remarks that there would be fireworks in Pakistan if BJP loses Bihar polls accidentally, he said, the BJP president said so since the neighbouring nation works to hamper the progress of this country.
But how did the issue of secularism arise in this comment that the Opposition moves Election Commission over it, Naqvi asked.
On Arun Shourie and Shatrughan Sinha hitting out at BJP, the Union minister said, what can be done if a few among the 380 MPs and thousands of BJP MLAs raise dissident voices.
Naqvi refuted the allegations of strained relations between Shiv Sena and BJP, and stated the if any problem arises both the parties would solve it through talks.
Asserting that BJP would form government in Uttar Pradesh following 2017 polls in the state, he said that the reshuffling of the Samajwadi government Cabinet would not affect the result.