INDIA.NEW DELHI: A day prior to the completion of his Rajya Sabha term, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi resigned on Wednesday as the minister of minority affairs, as well as the Deputy Leader of the Upper House. Naqvi’s resignation leaves BJP in the red zone without a single Muslim among its 395 Members of Parliament and comes forward at a crucial time when the BJP is threatened by unprecedented backlash over party spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s insensitive comments on Prophet Muhammad.
Along with Naqvi, Janata Dal (United)’s Ram Chandra Prasad Singh resigned. Both Naqvi and Singh had completed eight years in the cabinet. He was the Union Steel Minister and the only one from his party at the Centre.
Despite speculations of Naqvi’s renewal as Vice-President in the upcoming August 6 elections, and Singh, who happens to be Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s one-time confidante and close companion, failed to secure another Rajya Sabha term as his party boss was reportedly irked by his proximity to senior partner BJP.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi had lauded Naqvi and Singh’s eight-year contribution to the country in a Cabinet meeting, hinting that it was the last Cabinet meeting for the ministers.
With their terms as Union Ministers at an end, the MPs have subsequently submitted their resignations to fulfil the constitutional obligation as they cease to be Parliamentarians from this Friday.
As per speculation, Naqvi might be BJP’s Vice-Presidential candidate in the upcoming Vice-President election on August 06.
As per the statement released from Rashtrapati Bhavan, Smriti Zubin Irani is to be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Minority Affairs along with her existing portfolio. While Jyotiraditya Scindia to handle Steel Ministry along with his existing portfolio.