New Delhi: Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said the Narendra Modi government would have to do a lot more to gain the confidence of Muslims "whose minds have been poisoned over the last 70 years".
Naqvi also said the BJP government would remind Muslims of the schemes the government started for their development and the efforts it made against 'triple talaq' during the campaigning for the 2019 elections.
The minister had recently hosted an Iftar party for Muslim women. A few victims of 'triple talaq' had also attended it.
"We have to do a lot more to gain the confidence of Muslims because their minds have been poisoned over the last 70 years. But, the good thing is that the new generation, the women are evaluating the BJP on its merits and demerits.
This is a very positive development," Naqvi told PTI.
On the BJP's defeat in the recent Kairana by-election, the minority affairs minister said it had not affected the party's "winning spree", but had certainly prompted it to have re-look at its strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.
"It does not mean that we will lose all the elections. Now that we know that the opposition parties will stitch an alliance to contest the Lok Sabha polls, we will prepare a strategy to counter them," Naqvi said.
Regional heavyweights have been mulling the idea of forming a "united front" to stop the BJP's juggernaut in 2019.
The minister alleged that the Congress and other rival parties had "always used Muslims for vote bank politics" and had not done anything for their development.
"The Congress and others always feel that Muslims will vote for them out of compulsion. So, they have never focused on their development and empowerment," he claimed, adding that the BJP government had honestly worked for the welfare of the community.
The Narendra Modi government had taken various steps for "restoring the dignity" of Muslims and the BJP was not running after votes, he said.
"To vote or not to vote is their democratic right," Naqvi added.