Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday said it would have been better for the Bharatiya Janata Party if it had given tickets to Muslim candidates for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, reported PTI. “As far as tickets are concerned, it would have been better [if tickets were given to Muslims],” Naqvi said.

The minister, however, said that his party believed in working for all sections of the society, and the Muslims in the state would benefit if the BJP was voted to power. “We will address their concern by compensating them when we form government in the state,” Naqvi said. “The BJP believes in taking along all the sections of the society. We formed government at the Centre with cooperation of all. Similarly, we will form government in the state.”

He is not the first leader of the ruling party to say this. Home Minister Ranjath Singh and Union minister Uma Bharti had reportedly made similar statements in the recent past. The fifth phase of polling took place in the state on Monday. The results will be declared on March 11.