Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Health, Education and Finance Minister of Assam has said that the BJP neither needs votes from Bengali Muslims of Assam, known as ‘Miya’ Muslims, nor is planning to give them tickets ahead of the state Assembly elections.
Sarma accused the community of distorting Assamese culture and language and said the BJP doesn’t need their votes to win.
“They have started identifying themselves as Miyas. These so called Miya people are very very communal and fundamental and they are involved in many activities to distorting Assamese culture and Assamese language. So I don’t want to be an MLA with their vote. I will not be able to sit in the Assembly if they voted for me,” the minister told reporters in Guwahati on Wednesday.
“The people who are openly challenging Assamese culture and language and challenging composite Indian culture, they should not vote for us,” he said.
Stating that the BJP will not give tickets to Miya Muslims, Sarma urged the Congress, which has an alliance with the AIUDF, to follow suit.
“When we speak of Muslims in Assam, there are two types — one is the indigenous Assamese Muslims, who usually vote for the BJP and, even if they don’t vote for us, they are associated with our culture and heritage… whereas the other category is of those who do not even have their names properly in the NRC as of now,” Indian Express quoted the minister as saying.
Pointing to the ‘flawed’ NRC list published in 2019, Sarma said the state government wants a re-verification, while holding former NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela “singularly responsible for the mess”.