BJP's outreach to Muslims aims to counteract opposition from the minority to the party

BJP's outreach to Muslims aims to counteract opposition from the minority to the party

According to those with knowledge of the situation, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) outreach to minorities, particularly Muslims, has been planned to strengthen the Union government's commitment to ensuring equal representation in all social welfare programs. This can help prevent the minority community from becoming more and more of an anti-BJP force.

The BJP's central leadership has told its members to emphasize the percentage of Muslims who participate in social welfare programs to show that there hasn't been any discrimination based on religion and to debunk the myth that the party is intolerant of Islam.

"The opposition's assertions that the BJP is an anti-Muslim party are refuted by the reality that Muslims have benefited from social assistance programs. According to a party official, the opposition has long stoked mistrust of the BJP and its philosophy, which has caused the minority population to vote in large numbers against it.

The BJP is now trying to prevent the community from being used as a vote bank against it, even if they do not vote in favor of it. The functionary stated, "They may vote for the party of their choice, but the selection should not be determined by hate or hatred for the BJP."

At the party's national executive committee meeting in Hyderabad last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave party leaders the directive to reach out to the economically and socially backward Muslims, also known as "Pasmanda," in order to change the narrative about the party's alleged anti-minority stance.

This year, he followed it up by highlighting the fact that outreach efforts should not be conducted with an eye on electoral politics instead emphasizing the need of building relationships with neighbors who are opposed to radicalism and orthodoxy.

400 days before the 2024 elections, PM Modi offers BJP workers guidance on how to engage with Muslims.

According to reports, the PM used the example of Bohra Muslims, who despite not being registered to vote, have not opposed the BJP.

The BJP's "minority morcha" will launch its outreach campaign on February 10 and will choose 5,000 individuals from 60 Lok Sabha seats with whom the party leaders would interact.

"We have chosen 60 constituencies with a Muslim population of 30% or more. We will get in touch with them and provide them with information on how Muslims have benefited from government programs like the Awas Yojana, Har Ghar Nal, scholarships, and Ayushman Bharat. Jamal Siddiqui, head of the minority morcha, said, "We will emphasize how the PM has altered politics and changed the narrative from the politics of appeasement and vote bank.

By urging the community to get over their hesitation to support the BJP, the outreach will also try to break down boundaries over electoral preferences. The party intends to start by conducting these engagements in states like Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir before expanding to other regions.

The founding president of the All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz and a former member of the Rajya Sabha, Ali Anwar Ansari, however, referred to the BJP's outreach as little more than showmanship.

"I wrote to the PM (after the Hyderabad NEC) that, although on the one side, he speaks of embracing Pasmanda Muslims, on the other hand, there are cases of mob lynchings, charges of "love jihad," and mentions of "ghar wapsi." This dashes our optimism. Inclusion requires more than just talking the talk. The government should have kept in mind that Bilkis Bano, whose rapists were freed by a Gujarati court, is also Pasmanda, according to Ansari.

In response to his claim, Siddiqui said that the law "takes action" when necessary and that the government does not support violence against Muslims.