"When elections come, I myself will request them not to vote for us," Himanta Biswa Sarma said
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said BJP does not need the votes of 'Miya' people of 'char' (riverine sandbar) areas for the next 10 years, till they reform themselves by leaving aside practices such as child marriage.
Mr Sarma, however, said the 'Miya' people support him, PM Narendra Modi and the BJP, and they can continue to shout slogans in favour of the saffron brigade without voting for them.
"BJP will do public welfare and they will support us, but they don't need to vote for us. There is no harm in supporting us. Let them shout 'zindabad' for Himanta Biswa Sarma, Narendra Modi and BJP," he told reporters in response to a question.
The term 'Miya' is a slang used to refer to Bengali-speaking Muslims.
The chief minister said, "When elections come, I myself will request them not to vote for us. When you will follow family planning, stop child marriage and shed fundamentalism, then you vote for us." "To complete these, it will take 10 years. We will seek votes after 10 years, not now."
He said that those voting in favour of him and the BJP should not have more than two or three children, must send their daughters to schools, cannot indulge in child marriage and adopt Sufism by leaving fundamentalism.
"When these conditions are fulfilled, I will go with you to 'char' to seek votes," Mr Sarma told the journalists.
When pointed out that many 'chars', where predominantly Bengali-speaking Muslims live, do not have proper schools, he said that immediately schools would be set up if he is informed about the non-existence of a school in such an area.
"It can't happen that minority students won't get a chance to study. We will open seven colleges in minority areas in the coming days," Mr Sarma said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)