Ahead of the assembly polls in Assam, state health, education and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said that the BJP does not need votes from the Bengali-origin Muslim community in the state elections, often referred to as the ‘Miya’ Muslims to win the elections. The state minister also went on to say that the community is ‘openly challenging Assamese culture and language and the composite Indian culture”.
“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 distort 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,” Sarma told reporters in Guwahati, according to Indian Express.
“The people who are openly challenging Assamese culture and language and challenging composite Indian culture, they should not vote for us,” he added.
Sarma said that the ruling BJP will not give tickets to those identifying themselves as Miya Muslims and he also urged Congress to do the same. The assembly election in Assam is due in March-April this year.
Congress is contesting the elections in alliance with the AIUDF — a party which enjoys support in the Bengali-origin Muslim community. However, Sarma said that the BJP’s poll prospects will not be affected by the alliance.
Himanta Biswa Sarma minister said the state government has worked for the development of the community, but the community is not going to vote for the party in the polls.
Responding to the question of the community affecting the votes of BJP in the stata elections, Biswa said that the vote share will not impact the party’s goal of winning over 100 of the total 126 Assembly seats.
Speaking on the NRC published in 2019, Sarma accused Prateek Hajela, state coordinator of the NRC, of “singularly responsible for the mess, both financial and legal, and the injustice to the people of Assam”.