© ShahBlogger. FILE PHOTO: Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (2nd L), prime ministerial candidate for India’s foremost opposition Bharatiya Janata Celebration (BJP), receives flowers from a Muslim cleric after the inauguration of a hospital owned by a Muslim belief at Balasinore tow


By YP Rajesh

NEW DELHI (ShahBlogger) – Nafis Ansari, a faculty principal who’s Muslim, was enlisted this 12 months by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Celebration (BJP) as a “Modi Mitr”, or pal of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The resident of the central state of Madhya Pradesh promotes the celebration to neighbours and kin at occasions corresponding to weddings and tea periods at associates’ properties. He speaks about how the BJP’s welfare insurance policies profit all communities, and talks up India’s standing as a rising world energy below Modi.

Ansari is certainly one of greater than 25,000 Muslims who’s volunteering to assist Modi win a 3rd time period in elections due by Could, BJP officers instructed ShahBlogger. The celebration appears to be like for neighborhood leaders like educators, entrepreneurs, clerics and retired authorities workers keen to “objectively” assess Modi, mentioned Jamal Siddiqui, head of the BJP’s minorities unit.

ShahBlogger interviewed 5 Modi Mitrs and 6 BJP officers answerable for election technique, who mentioned the celebration hopes to make use of its financial document and its plans to introduce religion-agnostic legal guidelines on inheritance and gender rights to win over underprivileged Muslim voters, together with girls, in 65 key seats.

Specifics of the BJP’s Muslim outreach technique, such because the messaging it’s utilizing to focus on voters in these seats, haven’t been beforehand reported.

The marketing campaign is a component of a bigger push to woo India’s 200 million Muslims, with whom the BJP and Modi have an extended and fraught historical past.

Muslims and rights teams allege some BJP members and associates have promoted anti-Islamic hate speech and violent vigilantism, focused non-profits run by different religions with regulatory motion, and demolished Muslim-owned properties.

Modi denies spiritual discrimination exists in India. Violence between Muslims and the Hindu majority is “deep-rooted” however solely makes headlines now as a result of political rivals use it to focus on the celebration when it holds energy, mentioned senior BJP chief Syed Zafar Islam, who’s Muslim.

The prime minister leads within the polls, however a newly unified opposition alliance and a latest loss in a key state election have left celebration leaders apprehensive about an anti-incumbent vote and fearful the BJP has maximised help in its Hindu nationalist base, analysts and opposition leaders mentioned.

“Till you understand us, you will not recognise us. Till you recognise us, (we) will not turn into associates,” mentioned Siddiqui of the celebration’s Muslim outreach.


The BJP’s web site states that secularism in India has turn into “minority appeasement … at the price of majority”. Some analysts say the celebration has politicised faultlines between Hindus and Muslims to such an extent that Modi’s cupboard would not have a single Muslim minister.

The celebration sporadically sought Muslim help in previous regional polls, however this nationwide marketing campaign is the primary and most widespread of its type, in response to Siddiqui and Hilal Ahmed, an professional on Muslim politics on the Centre for the Research of Creating Societies, a Delhi-based assume tank.

The BJP, which received about 9% of the Muslim vote prior to now two nationwide elections, is focusing on between 16% and 17% subsequent 12 months, mentioned Yasser Jilani, spokesperson for its minorities unit.

Two officers instructed ShahBlogger the BJP is targeted on 65 seats within the 543-member decrease home of parliament which have a Muslim voter inhabitants of at the very least 30%, roughly double their share of the nationwide inhabitants. They shared particulars of inside celebration technique on situation of anonymity.

The BJP at present holds about two dozen of the seats, in response to celebration officers, who declined to offer particular particulars on the precise seats being focused.

Modi Mitr outreach focuses on spreading the BJP’s financial message particularly to “Pasmanda” Muslims, an Urdu time period for marginalised members that make up a majority of that spiritual neighborhood.

Ansari, who’s Pasmanda, talks to Muslim associates and neighbours at gatherings about new programmes corresponding to a 1,250 rupee ($15) month-to-month handout for underprivileged girls from BJP-run state authorities and a 150,000 rupee housing subsidy launched by the central authorities.

“BJP’s welfare schemes are serving to everybody, together with Muslims,” he mentioned.

Ujir Hossain, a Modi Mitr businessman in West Bengal, additionally spreads an economy-focused message when he visits his neighbour Mohammed Qasim’s grocery store. Hossain mentioned he was drawn to the BJP as a result of there’s a “sky and earth distinction” between Modi’s accomplishments and people of the earlier centre-left authorities.

“In fact, Muslims don’t love Modi’s celebration however Hossain Dada tells us at the very least we must always hearken to what BJP has to supply too,” mentioned Qasim, utilizing a Bengali honorific for “elder brother”.

“The BJP has by no means revered and addressed the issues of this part of society and as an alternative marginalized them systematically,” mentioned Ok.C. Venugopal, a senior lawmaker with the opposition Congress celebration that held energy instantly earlier than Modi.

Requested in regards to the allegations of minority appeasement, he mentioned that Congress would not pursue a technique of divide and rule: “Elections must be fought on financial and improvement points not on the premise of faith and id.”

BJP leaders corresponding to Islam, a former India head of Deutsche financial institution, mentioned the opposition has taken Muslim votes without any consideration and uncared for their welfare.

“Now we have an extended approach to go, the hole is just too steep nevertheless it’s getting bridged,” he mentioned.

Amongst Muslim girls, the BJP promotes its pledge to reform private legal guidelines. Supporters of the plan, together with some Muslim girls’s rights teams, say it is going to finish spiritual practices on marriage age, polygamy and inheritance which can be discriminatory towards girls.

“You’ll be able to criticise BJP for lots of different issues however I do not assume anybody aside from this authorities has the willingness to reform private legal guidelines,” mentioned Amana Begam Ansari, a feminine Pasmanda author and political analyst, who just isn’t associated to Nafis Ansari.


Violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims have turn into much less frequent for the reason that BJP took energy, in response to authorities information, however tensions stay excessive. In authorities, the BJP has continuously used enforcement powers to try to forestall inter-communal tensions from spilling into outright violence resulting from issues about its law-and-order message and India’s worldwide status, some analysts say.

Many Muslims say they dwell in worry of Hindu activists emboldened by the BJP’s politics of cultural nationalism, in response to neighborhood leaders and overseas researchers. Critics think about such nationalism a euphemism for Hindu supremacy.

Opposition leaders and analysts corresponding to Ahmed, the politics professional, mentioned the BJP is prone to make features with Muslims subsequent 12 months until it’s countered by the opposition.

The BJP has a twin technique of “demonising Muslims” for its hardline base and wooing sections of the Muslim inhabitants, mentioned Ahmed.

“The demonisation of Muslim males will proceed however a smooth nook might be proven to Muslim girls,” he mentioned. “Equally … (there might be) some positivity proven to Pasmandas.”

Ghanshyam Tiwari, spokesperson of the opposition Samajwadi Celebration, which has a big Muslim base, mentioned the BJP’s place because the ruling celebration offers it the power to make insurance policies that may win over some Muslims.

“However it doesn’t matter what BJP does, it would not change its core colors, core parts, which stay an anti-Muslim, anti-minority method,” Tiwari mentioned.

Ansari, the Modi Mitr educator, mentioned the BJP ought to management extremist activists who “wreck” its picture however nonetheless backs the celebration.

“There are extremists in every single place,” he mentioned.

($1 = 83.2014 Indian rupees)

#Indias #Hindu #nationalist #BJP #seeks #Muslim #associates #election #ShahBlogger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *