‘Will bring Muslims in development agenda of Modi govt’

The outreach programme is due to begin after February 10. This will be preceded by an in-depth discussion at the national executive meeting of the Minority Morcha in Chhattisgarh.

Published: 31st January 2023 08:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st January 2023 08:15 AM   |  A+A-

Jamal Siddiqui, national president of the BJP Minority Morcha. (File Photo)

Jamal Siddiqui, national president of the BJP Minority Morcha. (File Photo)

Express News Service

The BJP’s minorities wing is currently engaged in a massive outreach drive, identifying 60 minority-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies across the country where the party will directly interact with such communities, the Pasmanda (the ‘left out’/backward) Muslims, in particular. That’s quite an effort given the perception as well as the projection of the party’s adversaries about the party’s image.

“Neither the BJP nor does the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) nurture enmity or hatred towards Muslims. They want welfare of the marginalised people belonging to the Pasmanda and other minority communities,” Jamal Siddiqui, national president of the BJP Minority Morcha, tells Rajesh Kumar Thakur in an interview.


What’s the current campaign of the party’s Minority Morcha about?
The BJP is a party that works for everyone’s development irrespective of caste and religion. The BJP’s Minority Morcha has planned a comprehensive four-month-long outreach programme across 60 minority-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies across the country. We will be meeting people belonging to minority communities, including Muslim Pasmandas, and inform them about the Modi government’s welfare schemes for their all-round development.

The outreach programme is due to begin after February 10. This will be preceded by an in-depth discussion at the national executive meeting of the Minority Morcha in Chhattisgarh, due February 1 and 2. We will identify 5,000 prominent minority community members, including spiritual leaders and mentors and local traders’ unions. They will be informed about the government’s development schemes.

Which states are you focusing on?
We have a comprehensive outreach schedule for 60 identified minority-dominated LS constituencies. There are13 Lok Sabha seats each in UP and West Bengal to be covered by us. Besides, there are 10 LS constituencies identified by us in Kerala that have a strong presence of minority communities, including Muslims.

In the Lok Sabha constituency of Rahul Gandhi (Wayanad), the Morcha will be conducting a wider outreach programme. Similarly, we have identified J&K’s five LS constituencies -- Baramulla, Anantnag, Srinagar, Ladakh and Udhamapur.

The general perception is that the BJP and RSS are anti-Muslim...
It is a totally wrong assumption. It is a politically motivated propaganda fuelled by the Opposition to mislead the minority communities. Neither BJP nor does the RSS nurture enmity or hatred towards the Muslims or any other minority community. They want inclusive development and that’s why the PM has decided to bring changes to the lives of Pasamanda Muslims and other poor and marginalised sections.
I am a Muslim; I never faced discrimination or hatred. The RSS chief encourages us to serve the people of minority communities.

Who will you specifically interact with during the outreach programme?
The PM has directed us to meet Sufi saints, influential people of minority communities, including Pasmandas and Bohras, and traders. The PM has also told us that “India will not develop until every section is developed. So, our objective is to bring everyone in the mainstream of development and not use them for electoral gains only. This outreach is not meant to garner minority votes but to link them with economic and social development.

Is there any plan to explore potential leadership among the Muslim youth?
The BJP is not untouchable to anyone as evident in the recent elections in UP and Gujarat. What all communities want is development, equality and safety. The BJP has been promoting representation of Muslims in the party. The party has many leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and others. I also get equal participation in the party. But, yes, the Minority Morcha has started exploring potential leadership among the Muslim youth.’

The BJP has not given nomination to Muslims in many elections...
Those who blame the BJP for not giving the party ticket to Muslims are perhaps unaware of our party’s criteria of giving nominations in any election. A deserving candidate can be decided on the winnibility factor. Castes and other factors do come in. The fact is that the BJP accords equal value to Muslims.

Congress and others often accuse PM Modi of neglecting the Muslims and other minority communities...
The Congress is a misled party.  If the party wants to compete with Modi-ji, then you will have to talk about development. The PM has done a lot of hard work and has brought Indian politics into developmental mode; he has freed the people from the grips of ‘parivarvad’ (dynasty) and ‘Jativad’(casteism). Rahul Gandhi has made himself a laughing stock. I see him misleading the youth through Bharat Jodo Yatra. The Congress holds a record of communal riots. We know what had happened in Muzaffarnagar and Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh) riots during the Congress regime. If they continue to raise Gujarat riots to create hatred among people, we will have to speak about other riots that took place in the Congress rule.


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