Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today accused various opposition parties of treating Muslims as badhua mazdoor (bonded labourer) to garner their votes by putting them in "the fear of the BJP."
Slamming the opposition for their "mindset" towards the Muslims, he also questioned them as to why they never made a Muslim a state chief minister.
"I want to convey to the Muslims that till the fear of BJP is being shown to them (by various political parties), they should clearly understand that they are being treated as bonded labourers," said Lok Janshakti Party chief Paswan today, while addressing a gathering here at a function to mark the 69th birth anniversary of Apna Dal (Sonelal) stalwart Sonelal Patel.
"These people (opposition parties) talk about Muslims. Are the Muslims bandhua majdoor (bonded labourers) that they will be voting only for Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati or the Congress," asked the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
"Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of Muslims and they (these political parties) want only the votes of Muslims," said the Union Minister.
"But, why is it that they have not made a single Muslim as the Chief Minister of UP? Why was it not done in Bihar?," he asked.
Addressing the gathering at the occasion, Mr Paswan said, "I had once got an opportunity in Bihar. I advocated for a Muslim chief minister, but Lalu Yadav wanted to make Rabri Devi as the chief minister of Bihar."
Seeking to assure Muslims of the BJP bonafide as a party to protect the interest of all, including those of Muslims, Mr Paswan asked, "Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi or UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ever say where Ram temple will be built. The matter is still pending in the court."
"You should put your point of view to the government, and then judge a (political) party. You should act with an open mind," said Mr Paswan, whose party is an NDA constituent in both the central and the Bihar government.
Pointing out that every party has its own point of view, Mr Paswan said, "But, the government functions as per a common minimum programme. When the BJP stormed to power (in 2014), what was the need to make Ram Vilas Paswan or even Anupriya Patel an Union minister. This is a signal that we are fighting for social justice."
"In the next (2019 Lok Sabha) election, there is no vacancy in Delhi for Prime Minister's post, and these people (opposition parties) should not indulge in wastage of time or efforts."
"We have a single leader -- Narendra Modi, but they have many leaders. Is anybody ready to follow Rahul Gandhi? Mamata Banerjee is raising her own points and there is the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. In short, there is no vacancy," he said.
He also urged the audience to join hands and gear up for the battle of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.