Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is credited with major reforms in the Haj policy under Modi 1.0 dispensation, has been appointed as the Minister of Minority Affairs in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's second term yet again in May. Naqvi, who took oath as a Cabinet Minister on May 30, held the same portfolio in the previous BJP government and won the hearts of minorities.
During his first tenure between 2014 and 2019, the Haj subsidy was done away with under a new policy and women were allowed to go on the pilgrimage without Mehram or a male companion. Apart from the Haj policy, Naqvi, as the Minority Affairs Minister, effectively implemented various schemes aimed at socio-economic-educational empowerment of poor and weaker sections of minorities with the goal of "development with dignity". Therefore, the 61-year-old minister has been given the responsibility of taking forward the welfare policies and reforms without 'appeasement' policy.
Naqvi, the two-time Rajya Sabha member, stepped into his political career as a Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader in 1980. The 61-year-old minister fought his first election in 1980 as a JD-S candidate from Allahabad West and lost. Same year, he unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls as an Independent candidate from the Ayodhya parliamentary constituency.
Almost 18 years after his election debut, he became the first BJP Muslim Lok Sabha Member from Uttar Pradesh's Rampur seat in 1998, and subsequently was given the post of Minister of State for Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He contested a total of two assembly elections (1991, 1993) and three Lok Sabha polls in 1998, 1999 and 2009.
Besides, Naqvi also served as a BJP spokesperson and was one of the 11 vice-presidents appointed by party chief Amit Shah in 2014. He is also a part of several key parliamentary committees and is considered to be a strong party voice in the Rajya Sabha.
Talking about Naqvi's early brush with politics, he was jailed at the age of 17 owing to his political activities during the Emergency in 1975. At that time, Naqvi was lodged at the Naini Central Jail in Maharashtra. As a student leader, he had also participated in the activities of the Janata Party.
Naqvi was born to AH Naqvi and Sakina Begum on October 15, 1957, in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. A student of law, Naqvi also studied arts and mass communication and has authored three books till date. The Union Minister is married to Seema Naqvi, a Hindu, and has a son with her.