The Narendra Modi government will on Thursday launch Progress Panchayat, a campaign to reach out to the minorities, particularly Muslims, to create awareness in these communities about the government’s policies and programmes and remove “fears and misconceptions” about the government. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will launch first of the ProgressPanchayats in Mewat region of Haryana. Mewat has a significant Muslim population. Last month, a couple was murdered and two girls raped, allegedly by a gau rakshak, or cow protection, group in this region. Naqvi said the Progress Panchayat would educate people of the area about the government’s efforts in social, educational, health and infrastructure sectors and in creating job opportunities. Naqvi said his ministry would also seek feedback from the people on its schemes and try to counter the misinformation campaign launched by its political rivals against the Modi government.
"Earlier, people from minority communities were cheated by merchants of votes. Now there will be no such business of votes, but an agenda of development to ensure welfare of the communities," Naqvi claimed.
A similar Progress Panchayat is scheduled to be held in Tijara village in Alwar district of Rajasthan on October 3. Naqvi plans to attend 100 such Panchayats in areas that have significant presence of minorities across the country.
During his speech at the Bharatiya Janata Party national council meeting in Kozhikode, Kerala, on Sunday, the PM had asked party cadres not to spurn Muslims or to treat them as vote banks but regard them as one of their own.