Guwahati: Nearly four lakh Muslims in Assam are believed to have given missed calls from May to August seeking the primary membership of the BJP.
The BJP has neither denied it nor confirmed it. The party, however, confirmed the receipt of over five lakh missed calls for membership from all eight states of the Northeast.
“The membership drive was till August and the party got over five lakh missed calls from all states of the Northeast. However, it will be difficult to say how many of the calls were from the Muslims,” the BJP’s minority cell head for the Northeast, Syed Mominul Awal, told this newspaper.
For membership, the caller has to provide all details and the party’s head office takes a call following the scanning of callers’ credentials, he said.
Vijay Kumar Gupta, a BJP spokesman in Assam, said not just Muslims, minorities, belonging to various communities, were joining the party by giving missed calls.
“The callers are required to submit documents which are then scanned by the party. Usually, there is no rejection of membership,” he said.
Political observers said one reason why the Muslims were joining the BJP was, possibly, the recent assertions by BJP leaders that they would bring another National Register of Citizens (NRC) to drive out the “ghusbetias” from the country.
However, Assam Minister and the BJP’s face in the Northeast, Himanta Biswa Sarma, rubbished the speculations.
“After (last) Lok Sabha elections, many minority people have taken memberships of the BJP because of Prime Minister Narendra Modiji. It has nothing to do with the NRC,” he said.
Two parties that are likely to be affected by the Muslims’ wearing saffron will be opposition Congress and minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
The Muslims in Assam have been the vote-banks of the Congress for years until they started switching their loyalty to the AIUDF following its formation in 2005.
Currently, both parties have support base among people belonging to the community.
Assam BJP president Ranjit Dass often says in public rallies that the party has around 29-30 lakh Muslim workers and supporters. The party already has a solid support base among Bengalis and tea workers.
Assam has a population of 3.30 crore according to applications filed by people for inclusion of their names in the NRC and the Muslims account for around 34 per cent of the population.