HomePoliticsBJP eyes Muslim votes by including new member in its Legislative Council

BJP eyes Muslim votes by including new member in its Legislative Council

With the nomination of Tariq Mansoor, vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, the BJP has the most number of Muslim representatives in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council of any party, including the Samajwadi Party, with four. (which has 2 MLCs).

It demonstrates the BJP’s resolve to forge closer ties with the group that has been alienated by its avowedly Hindutva agenda. One way the BJP seeks to bridge the gap between the communities is through the government’s welfare programs, which it calls “Sabka Vikas.” The other is through its emphasis on Pasmanda Muslims, the underprivileged members of the community who are thought to make up 80% of its population.

Mansoor joins the ranks of other BJP lawmakers in the UP Legislative Council, including fellow Pasmanda Danish Azad Ansari (a minister of state in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet), as well as Shia Muslims Bukkal Nawab and Mohsin Raza. Shia Muslims are the Muslim community that has least animosity towards the BJP.

In UP, where Muslims are estimated to make up 20% of the population, there are six Muslim MLCs in addition to 31 MLAs (down from 33 when Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam were disqualified).

Meetings with Pasmanda “intellectuals” were hosted by the state BJP’s minority branch last year, first in Lucknow and subsequently in Rampur. It was partly credited with taking Rampur from the SP in a byelection later that year.

The Pasmanda outreach got started after PM Modi encouraged the BJP national executive in Hyderabad last year to reach out to “deprived and downtrodden” sectors of all ethnicities. According to the UP BJP, more than 4.5 crore Muslims have benefited from different government programmes implemented under the “double engine sarkar” of Modi and Yogi.

The state’s minority BJP has also identified over 44,000 polling places with a sizable Pasmandas population and will concentrate on these.

“Nomination of one more Muslim by the BJP shows the party follows the ideology of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas in the truest sense and gives representation to all communities,” said Kunwar Basit Ali, state president of the BJP’s minority branch.

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