Seeking to reach out to the minorities, party leader Murli Manohar Joshi said BJP would "ensure peaceful and secure environment where there is no place for either perpetrators and exploiters of fear".

"When we talk about minorities, there is a feeling among them that there is discrimination in getting opportunities. They should be given opportunities to come forward," he said here after release of the party manifesto.

Joshi said minority educational system and institutions will be strengthened and modernised and national Madrasa modernisation programme would be initiated.

Besides, the Waqf Board will be empowered in consultation with religious leaders and steps taken to remove encroachment from unauthorised occupation of Waqf properties, he said.

Joshi, chairman of the manifesto committee, also said the Prime Minister's 15-point programme for uplift of minorities has not yielded the desired results.

"They (the minorities) say that they only hear about the programmes on radio and TV but they see nothing on the ground," he said.

The 42-page manifesto talked about setting up of a permanent inter-faith consultative mechanism and trust under religious leaders and the party's commitment to the preservation of the rich culture and heritage of the minority communities alongside their social and economic empowerment.

"It is unfortunate that even after several decades of Independence, a large section of the minority and especially Muslim community continues to be stymed in poverty," it said.

The manifesto pledged to ensure that the young and the girl child in particular get education and jobs without discrimination.

"Modern India must be nation of equal opportunity and the party believes that in India's unity in diversity lies India's biggest strength," it said.


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