Weeks after Union Minister Maneka Gandhi courted controversy by saying she might not be inclined to work for Muslims who do not vote for her, a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA in Assam has suggested that the government should not take care of Muslims for a similar reason.
Prasanta Phukan, who represents the Dibrugarh Assembly constituency, virtually equated Muslims with cows that do not yield milk.
“It is common knowledge that 90% Muslims did not vote for us in the Lok Sabha election. There is no point in providing fodder to a cow that does not produce milk,” he said earlier this week.
His remark did not go down well with leaders of the minority community.
Anwar Hussain Laskar, All India United Democratic Front MLA from Hailakandi, said only a deranged person could make such a statement.
Nekibur Zaman, an advocate of the Gauhati High Court, said the BJP should suspend Mr. Phukan for the “shameless and condemnable” observation about Muslims. “His party should censure him for the cow analogy that is unbecoming of an elected representative,” he said.
Mr. Phukan, however, stood his ground. “I used a popular Assamese proverb on cows to drive home a point. I did not say anything wrong,” he said but insisted his statement was misinterpreted.
He pointed out that earmarking ₹100 crore in the budget did not yield any support from the Muslims for the BJP-led government in Assam.