The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.
“Where the overall economic situation of the area/society better – conditions of Muslims are also better”.
You would assume that this statement was made either by the BJP, Narendra Modi or some supporter of Narendra Modi. Because this has been one of their key arguments all along. But the above statement came from Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who belongs to the Congress! The irony of this statement is so stark – the same Congress that seeks to segregate the Muslims as a vote-bank and keep them backward so that they can use it in elections, now has a Union Minister neatly implying that focus on overall situation, Muslims will automatically get better!
This statement was in response to a query posed by Rahul Kanwal on a chat show onAAJ TAK. Rahul Kanwal got Jairam Ramesh and Amit Shah on a panel to discuss about the Gujarat Model. And as always the discussion veered to the state of Muslims in Gujarat. At this point, Rahul Kanwal cited data from Sachchar Committee report that Muslims in Gujarat are in a better state. And then Jairam Ramesh made the above statement (at 10:37 in this video) clearly validating what Narendra Modi has been saying all along! Would it be a fair assumption to make now that the where the Muslims have fared badly, the overall economic situation is also bad, and therefore one cannot segregate the two?
The chat show is interesting on many levels, because it also exposes the vacuum in the Congress’s campaign strategy. Amit Shah was talking about the 24×7 electricity to villages, road connectivity to 98 per cent of villages, building of schools etc. Jairam Ramesh suddenly interferes and says this (at 4:40 in this video). “But this is all commercial”! He actually used the word “commercial” to describe building of roads, buildings, and supply of electricity! Is this how our Rural Development Minister thinks? That providing better infrastructure to rural areas is a “commercial” activity?
And of course, there has to be a discussion on 2002 riots. Jairam Ramesh refutes the clean chit given by SIT by claiming to be reading from the SIT report itself! He picks up a paper, saying that he bought along the SIT report along with him, and read out thus at 2:20 in this video:
“The SIT has held, while there is evidence, that many allegations are true and correct, in its own assessment, this evidence is not prosecutable.”I transcribed exactly what he told, and then pasted it on Google. Because I read the SIT report and don’t recollect seeing this. And guess what the first site Google showed up? Teesta Setalvad’s website with the exact same wording. Exact same words. Second link is an article by Sitaram Yechury with the exact same words. It looks like Jairam Ramesh merely printed from one of these blogs and read it out at this forum as if this is the truth. I’d urge the reader to go through the preliminary report of SIThere, and the final report of the SIThere. An earlier series of blog posts summarises the findings for easierreading. All the allegations have been refuted in a detailed investigation. If we were to believe the likes of Jairam Ramesh, then the gospel truth has to be Teesta Setalvad’s blogs and not the actual report itself!
This whole approach of the Congress reeks so much of the bankruptcy of their thought process. Equating infrastructure to being commercial in nature; continuing to spread lies on riots; continuing to stress on 25 year old “achievements” of Rajiv Gandhi; failure to engage in a healthy and informed discourse – all this will hurt the party a lot, there is little doubt about it. The media also has to take part blame for the fall in discourse. Sample this interview itself – Rahul Kanwal, despite getting a detailed clarification from Narendra Modi himself on malnutrition in Gujarat, brings up the 2011 figure in this interview again! While expectedly, Amit Shah has explained that efforts to improve are ongoing, the twist lies in Jairam Ramesh saying (at 8:30 of this video) that there are improvements happening to social indicators in Gujarat too!