Ahead of the state Assembly polls, Assam’s health, education and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said the BJP does not need votes from the Bengali-origin Muslim community in Assam — often colloquially referred to as ‘Miya’ Muslims — to win the elections, and accused the community of “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. “The people who are openly challenging Assamese culture and language and challenging composite Indian culture, they should not vote for us.”
Sarma said the BJP will not give tickets to those who identify themselves as Miya Muslims and urged the Congress to do the same. The Congress has allied with the AIUDF — a party which enjoys a large support base in the Bengali-origin Muslim community — and four other parties, but Sarma said that the BJP’s poll prospects will not be affected by the alliance.