Monday, 4 July, 2022
HomeOpinionThe BJP does not want Owaisi, the BJP does not need Owaisi

The BJP does not want Owaisi, the BJP does not need Owaisi

The BJP’s aim is to invisibilise Muslims. Owaisi is a challenge to that project. 

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The Bharatiya Janata Party will do anything it needs to win elections, we are often told.

Yet, there is one thing the BJP does not do, particularly the BJP of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. It rarely ever gives tickets to Muslims. That costs it a few Muslim-dominated seats. If the BJP’s single-minded purpose was to win seats, it would happily give tickets to Muslims.

By giving some representation to Muslims in their ticket distribution, the BJP could, perhaps, have won state elections in Rajasthan, Delhi, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh. You can find Muslims who are all too willing to engage with the BJP at a time when the party has a monopoly over winning elections. Like most communities, Muslims don’t mind being on the right side of power.

It is the BJP that does not respond to Muslim aspirations, because there are things the BJP values more than winning elections, such as ideology. In its post-2014 phase, it has been clearer than ever that the BJP’s ideological purpose is to marginalise Muslims to the point of making them invisible. The Muslim must shut up and stay at home. The Muslim must not be MLA, MP, minister or leader. Muslims must not speak or be heard.

What was such a big deal about blocking traffic on a road or two over the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests that it caused riots in Delhi? Was the blocking of a road in east Delhi that nobody was really noticing that big a problem for commuters? That is how unacceptable the Muslim political voice is to the BJP.


Also read: Asaduddin Owaisi’s rise is just the opportunity Hindutva politics is waiting for


The BJP doesn’t want Owaisi

It is facetious to say that the BJP wants Asaduddin Owaisi around in politics. The BJP doesn’t want the Muslim beard or cap. My understanding is that it doesn’t want a Muslim standing up in Parliament — because why should Muslims be present in Parliament of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in the first place?

For the first time in the history of Bihar politics, the treasury benches do not have a single Muslim MLA. The BJP did not give a single ticket to a community that is nearly 17 per cent of Bihar’s population — every sixth citizen. It is the only party that seeks to actively exclude an entire community from the corridors of power. Do you think they enjoy the sight of five MLAs from the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in the assembly?

The five seats won by the AIMIM have led to the usual hand-wringing about how Owaisi’s rise is just what the BJP wants. The BJP wants Muslims to vote for a Muslim party just as it wants Hindus to vote for a Hindu party. This is a misreading of the BJP’s agenda. The BJP-RSS have gone out of their way to make secular parties apologetic about seeking Muslim votes. This has been done to silence the voice of the Muslim community in Indian politics and public life. If Indian Muslims now get a voice through Owaisi and the AIMIM, no, that doesn’t serve the BJP’s purpose.

The BJP would rather that Muslims don’t have a vote at all— which is what might be eventually achieved by the ‘chronology’ laws of NPR-NRC-CAA, which could strip many Muslims of citizenship. One look at the attempts in Assam to repeat the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise again and again, flogging a dead horse until it comes alive, shows you how the BJP wants to reduce the number of Muslim voters from the electoral rolls. That’s how the absence of Muslim representation from not just the treasury benches but even the opposition benches might be achieved.


Also read: AIMIM wins 5 seats in Bihar, but hasn’t made a big dent in Mahagathbandhan vote share


The BJP doesn’t need Owaisi

The BJP does not need Owaisi for polarisation because the BJP has anyway maxed the polarisation game. All that fake news against Muslims — like the Palghar lynching of sadhus immediately blamed on Muslims even though there was no communal angle whatsoever — doesn’t need Owaisi. If anything, Owaisi’s nuanced assertion of constitutional nationalism comes in the way of the BJP leaders and supporters’ efforts to portray the Muslim as the Hindu-hating, Pakistan-loving, cow-slaughtering devil.

The larger misreading here is that the Hindu voter votes only on account of religion. If religious identity was enough, Prime Minister Modi wouldn’t need to sell ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or whatever the latest hollow slogan is. The sort of voter who would vote for the BJP because they are repulsed by Owaisi’s face will anyway vote for the BJP. Owaisi’s presence or absence isn’t going to affect the Hindutva-minded voter’s affinity for the BJP.


Also read: Why UP opposition parties are jittery after Owaisi performance in Bihar


Who needs Owaisi? 

If anyone needs Owaisi, it is the Indian Muslim. The Indian Muslims who are being deprived of a voice in public discourse because the ‘secular’ parties who claim to uphold their interests have also gone silent. In fact, they’re going beyond silence to active collaboration with Hindu fundamentalism, if you see the recent actions of Priyanka Gandhi, Kamal Nath, and Arvind Kejriwal.

At such a time, Owaisi is a force for good in Indian politics. He’s not going to become chief minister or prime minister and he knows it. What he will achieve is the creation of some competition for Muslim votes, which will force the ‘secular’ parties to acknowledge that, yes, India has Muslims and they must be treated with the same dignity by all political parties as any other voter.

The author is contributing editor to ThePrint. Views are personal.

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53 COMMENTS

  1. Hahahahhahah…..sorry The print…..you are like The answer Ambani has given to Rajdeep “aapko seriously nahi leta”..and no one takes you seriously…..

  2. I don’t carry my religion when I step out of the house,by way of my attire,my language, my thought. I am always Indian to best of the circumstances.

  3. Mr. Vij behaves and thinks like the so-called secular parties as far as reading BJP and Muslim mindset is concerned. He may be a consulting editor, but lacks basic understanding of the real Indian polity. It is neither BJP nor anyone has the strength or wherewithal to make the ‘Muslims invisible’ as he has mentioned. He is one of those paranoid persons who gets attack of paranoia with the rise of BJP. He has failed to live with the reality for that such worthless articles. Please forbid him from writing such articles. Next time I am not going to waste my time on him. Raja Mohanty

    • Owaisi is infact a boon for BJP… he is either cutting votes in favor of BJP or becoming a new Rahul Gandhi……
      The great Hyderabad cricketer – Azharruddin who once captained Indian team had stood with Owaisi to say that he is being targeted for “match-fixing” for being a muslim.

  4. ”The Print has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. ”
    I do not see why SG wants money from the public when money is poured from all directions and sources to his magazine. There are Pakistan and Bangladesh governments, Hawala money from Dubai, and all the looted money by the Congies.

  5. Worthless article!
    Indian Muslims are citizens of this great nation as any other individual. They enjoy all the rights here and as patriotic citizens perform all the duties for the nation.
    To every Indian’s dismay there are many amongst us who behave as agents and activists of some foreign entities. We have to isolate them. These people try to disrupt the harmony in our nation by raising FALSE narrative of RELIGION! Beware of such evil minds.!!!

  6. Look at this guy, he doesn’t want to establish citizenship regsitry because his agenda is to bring illegals and change demographics of India, So he is selling baseless theories that Indian muslims will stripped of citizenship. Hindus be awake to this appeaser crowd their agenda it to weaken hinduism.

  7. Shivam is rakhi savanth of journalism. Write provoking nonsensical columns and get comments. At least he is only writing columns, I heard him in some of the programs, he was unbearable with his cranky voice and behaves like drunken guy.

  8. The blogger as always has showed his utter dishonesty and deceit in abundance. I wonder if he is paying for the write up to be published or paid for the stuff.

  9. It is absolutely false to say BJP is not want to give voice or representation to Muslim Community. As per my observation the current situation i.e reduced number of Muslim MLA or MPs because of Muslim community and Congress and Intellectual l people. Muslim people are not seeing the performance of the candidate at least after elected as MLA or MP simply voting based on religion. Because of lack of education and awareness in Muslim community they are not realizing the mistakes and no one educating in this aspect. Muslim community is not in great position even there is no single MLA or presence of BJP in lot of states. Consider the Example of Telanaga , Andhra and Kerala where BJP presence is very less still lot of Muslim areas are underdeveloped. Specially in Kerala people have no jobs and they have to migrate to Middle East for Jobs and Business . So I advise the author please visit the Muslim dominated places in any state and educate them why they are like this instead of blaming BJP or Owasi. If he can educate Muslim automatically BJP will decline.

  10. Indian Oped writers are great at Intellectual Gymnastics. Not giving ticket to muslims somehow means muslims should not vote (Candidature = Right to vote). They themselves think on the separate electorate lines and call others communal. As far as representation goes, why should a political party be always blamed for not reaching out. Doesn’t the community too have some distance to cover. I wish author had sighted some examples of winnable muslims hopeful of tickets from BJP. One can easily see the attitude of the community towards the muslims who are in BJP.

  11. The writer seems to be under severest shock on hearing the defeat of MGB led by the 9th fail son of the CM who has been quartined to jail by the judiciary in infamous Chara Gotala . He is lamenting that Muslim in Bihar ditched MGB and voted for their own Muslim party in some of the constituencies. It is crime on the part of B J P for not giving tickets to muslims, but it is O.K . for more than 90-95 % of Muslims to vote against BJP, irrespective of the candidate s qualities and qualifications . Muslims can go in for tactical voting against BJP or its allies ,but BJP should give tickets to Muslim candidates . Why ? To lose some more seats in a closely fought elections so that a corrupt combination can get a chance on platter to loot again . .. Congress and Congress supporting journalists have been of the view that Muslim have vote only for their party or combination. . Why ? Are they captive or slave of the ousted dynasty ? Muslims have every right to vote according to their own will with a caveat —- If they vote and support any rabid anti-Hindu or anti-Indian formation , It will also result into a emergence of of a retaliatory formation of Nationalist Forces on real time basis. That happened in some areas of Bihar and overturned that trends of results of the areas which have gone for election in Phase 1 and were instrumental in defeat of dynasts of Patna and Delhi.
    It is surprising that ThePrint is publishing articles by dejected authors who are not able to understand the under-currents of politics of last decade. Emergence of Modi or BJP has come as bolt from blue. It has come as grand reaction of Indian voters and massed against practice of fake socialism, fake secularism, rampant corruption, criminal negligence of nation s security and exhibition of feebleness against terrorism .

    • What the writer said is a fact.Modi and co neither needs Muslims nor Owisies. But his presence certainly help Sangh Parivar to consolidate it’s grip over the Hindu voters.Yes Modi and co wants to completely erase Muslims identity.
      That’s why they will not be given any Chance to be anywhere on the ladder of power.

  12. Usually I find Shivam Vij columns somewhat balanced, but this one is not. Owaisi , no doubt, represents Muslims—- right from his getup to talk. What do those 5 -MLAs in Bihar assembly do for Muslims in Bihar, other than raising slogans for the sake of Muslims ? By cutting votes in all states with his Muslim appeal and outlook, Owaisi makes secular parties weak. Finally, they will come to the bargaining counter with him. He will have his say in demanding reservations in education and Jobs to the whole Muslim Community. KCR in Telangana provided 12% reservations for Muslims, as a poll promise he made at the behest of Owaisi. But for the BJP, had any secular government been there at the Centre, it would have nodded what the Telangana Govt. had sent to the Centre on the Muslim reservation. Later, Owaisi-party may ask for assembly and parliament seat reservations also, like how they had had in pre-1947 era. Secular parties used to appeasing Muslims in cahoots with the Left parties. They would agree to this formula. Secularists in India made all kinds of excesses in the name of Secularism. So, they lost the trust of the Hindus.

  13. How much you have been paid by owaisi to ameliorate his tarnished image..bravo ..
    You are only spreading hate in the name of journalism..you have no idea what kind of disaster implications will it have in the upcoming years…
    You are sowing the seeds of hate nothing more..
    Your notion represent the jinnah ideology of separate electorate..that divided the nation ..and was killer of millon…
    God bless your so called secular journalism

  14. Having joined Mr Gupta’s outfit, Shivam has also started thinking like Mr Gupta. Simple arithmetic. Without Owaisi, bjp would’ve been I’m the opposition in Bihar today.

  15. What a beautiful editorial!! I have been saying this all the time to my friends who are misguided that he is a votekatua!

  16. HINDUS must know what happens if they are in minority examples of pakistan and Bangladesh and Kashmir are SYMTOMATIC . And then vote for a party which will not discriminate against HINDUS and protect their RELIGIOUS RIGHTS and keep HINDUS SAFE .

  17. The other day you wrote an article Owaisi is helping BJP narrative. What has changed now? Are you afraid Muslims will turn to BJP? You are pathetic. Pedwlling anything that supports leftist cause. People like you will make India go to dogs, if you come to power . Proof is lover the place. WB how CPI M killed WB , which was on top of country before electing Jyothi Basu

  18. “By giving some representation to Muslims in their ticket distribution, the BJP could, perhaps, have won state elections in Rajasthan, Delhi, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.”

    This is misreading Muslims. Shivam is in his ivory tower. He thinks Muslims are opportunists like him, throw some bone and they will be happy. That is not the case. Muslims will not vote for BJP or any party aligned to BJP. this is what Nitish Kumar found out, as all his Muslim MLAs lost their seat.

  19. It is not just ideology that they do not give tickets to Muslims. It is a carefully crafted “othering” of Muslims. This is all part of playbook to use Muslims to unite Hindus, by real or imagined threats.
    Unfortunately Mr Owaisi helps by consolidating that Muslim voters into a nice box. Works very well for BJP.

  20. While I am sympathizer of BJP, I always felt they should include Muslims in their party, After all BJP is subscribing to equality of religions
    in India why exclude Muslims. Muslims need to part of BJP governments in State and Center.

  21. Shivam should have published this article in NYT or WP; it is an article worthy of publishing in such top class international newspapers!! In other words, it is totally rubbish!.

  22. The Hypocrisy of Shivam Vij knows no limits. The Congress really did not need the Hindu votes as much and wanted the Muslims and Christians vote as a block. However, not that the Hindus vote as a block, it is a problem for VIJ and his cohorts? You get what you SOW my friend…. REAP!!!

  23. It is a fact that Muslim candidate is fielded by BJP or not Muslims particularly men don’t vote for it. BJP had Muslim MPs & made them ministers even if they have not won elections.

    Electoral politics is all about winnability. Muslims can complain once they raise above religious lens and start voting for BJP candidates if they are good irrespective of their religion.

  24. Man this guy knows who killed sadhus but he will not say. He is an idiot. The sadhus were killed by converted Christians. I see muslims bit better than converted Christians.

  25. The Muslims are not going to get their voices heard by the BJP by voting for Owaisi because no one else is going to vote for him. The continued success of the BJP in the electoral arena will spawn more attempts by the centrist parties to compete for the so called moderate Hindu votes. The only way Muslims will get their voices heard is by being in the centre of the Indian political spectrum – being in the fringes is pointless.

  26. Happy to see that you mentioned that BJP wants to deny Muslims rights for Vote since Muslim forcefully took separate land from themselves and divided this country based on religion. Since you have such great knowledge and understanding maybe you can lead a movement to undo the partition. Since we are all brothers who were mislead to divide the country we can all live in peace together. This way you will deny the BJP the entire ideology base which it uses to polarise Hindu votes. Look forward to your article on the same

  27. look at the plight of sickular parties now…if they court muslims they will be labelled as anti hindus..if they dont…. owaisi will eat into muslims vote…
    These sickular parties deserve this after all the appeasement polictics they have done all these years…

  28. BJP ideology on a slow news day may be needed by the Print but for others?? A 31% BJP PM is not a vote popular man and his ideology is even less so. Let the party explain its ideology. Newspapers are for news. Each in its corner. How about it?

  29. The problem with many contributors to this website, and some others others at NDTV as well, is the hate that they demonstrate towards those opposed to their ‘world view’. This author in particular seems to be mentally unwell. I hope he gets well and becomes objective in his critique (if one can venture to call this gibberish a critique). See how hateful he is. He has superimposed a basic untruth, before argument, that BJP hates muslims. Now when the premise itself is flawed, the experiment is bound to fail. BJP has its own idea of what Hindus are. And that includes muslims. Shocking for these commies, I know. Dr Kalam was a muslim, BJP loved him. But BJP doesnt love Aurangzeb! Sadly, Shivam & Ravish Kumar & Rajdeep & Sagarika think that rejection of Aurangzeb is rejection of Islam. Its not. Anyway, even to argue one needs objectivity and basic level of intelligence. Also one needs to step out of the cocoon of hate instilled by commie professors at colleges and schools. I think in case of Shivam its primarily lack of capability & intelligence with Hatefulness as an add on. In some others like Jholachaap Ravish, hatefulness takes precedence. The end result is the same. Ostrich with head buried in sand. In the meanwhile, India has moved on.

  30. I think the analysis is wrong. The rise of Owaisi has created competitive consolidation – Hindu consolidation Vs Muslim consolidation. Muslims now feel that no national party has done much for them except harnessing their highly transferrable Vote Bank. Even the Congress was forced to adopt ‘soft Hindutva”. Muslims, under these circumstances, do not seem to have any powerful mentor who can provide the protection they need. In Owaisi they see such protection. There are non-Hindutva Hindus, whose loyalty is to their castes, are the ideal partners for the Muslims in the power politics. Like the MY factor in Bihar. In TN, there are “anti-Hindu Hindus”, like the leadership of DMK, who make good friends for the Muslim community. Owaisi emergence as a credible political force tends to divide the Muslim community between these combine if he choose to throw his hat in the Electoral Ring. Any division of Muslim Votes will definitely benefit the BJP. That explains the victory of NDA, notwithstanding mounting dissent against Nitish Kumar for non-performance on many fronts. ( Of course there were other factors) This means Owaisi is needed by BJP for this negative reason. If Owiasi goes to Bengal or to TN, it will seriously impair the chances of TMC and DMK. In Bengal, Mamta will have to forget the Writers Building. In TN, the Stalin will be stalled. This will suit the BJP ideally. The ambition of Owaisi is to emerge as the sole representative of the entire Muslim populace of the country. He is an iconoclast, a die-hard Muslim, speaks excellent English, argues forcibly, espouses the cause of Muslims with adroitness and castigates Hindutva in unmistakable terms – all in the name of National Constitutionalism and Secular Values. Muslims are over awed by his presence. They will go behind him. But can he capture power either singly or in collaboration with others? Certainly not. Then what is the good that he can do for his community except making some rabble rousing. I therefore conclude; Bihar results show : Owaisi has won – but Muslims have lost.

  31. A thoughtful, nuanced column. Although I must confess that Mr Owaisi gets my sixth sense up. In a close election like Bihar, he brought home the bacon. He might be worth a lot more than thirty pieces of silver in Bengal. 2. To ask a rhetorical question. Where should India’s 200 million Muslims go ? As many here as in Pakistan or Bangladesh, so that is not really an option. Consider what will happen to social cohesion, national unity if such a large number of citizens, many already not doing well educationally and economically, are filled with a sense of hopelessness and despair, feel deliberately excluded from public spaces. The economic costs of such a hard majoritarian agenda are now no longer possible to mask through customary management of headlines. By the grace of God, India has still not seen serious radicalisation, although it would be good not to take such good fortune for granted. Kashmir is a poignant reminder of the cost of pursuing a purely ideological agenda. It is not just the Islamic world where India’s goodwill will melt, although different considerations work with leaders like Prince MbS. The West feels deep disquiet, continuously portrayed in their media. 3. India is a complex, diverse country to govern, with many challenges of poverty and underdevelopment. We are adding to those constraints. With the way Dalits have traditionally been treated, it is not even that the billion Hindus are one joyous family, all dolled up for the Karva Chauth photo op. One sees now why Joe Biden clubs India with Indonesia, dealt with in the passing in a single sentence. Discount the sheer numbers and we are looking more sub Saharan Africa than First World with each passing day.

    • India should work on making itself investment friendly country and win the confidence of non-ideological investors. India should also work on improving infrastructure and quality of education. As for trying to win heart of good will of likes of Joe Biden it is not worth anything. Joe Biden is pro-China and anti-India . He sponsored a legislation that prevented India., under Congress rule, from getting cryogenic technology from Russia.

      india should use China and middle eastern countries as role model for development and dealing with minority problems. Biden has been quiet about China most of these years, until Trump made it election issue.

    • “Discount the sheer numbers and we are looking more sub Saharan Africa than First World with each passing day.”

      We were like that since the beginning of the Republic of India in 1950. Just read UN report regarding hunger index and acute hunger. India rates worse than Pakistan in terms of hunger index and worse than sub-Saharan Africa in terms of acute hunger. This secularism is luxury that South Asian countries can not afford. Pakistanis being smarter dropped it long ago. Indian secularist Hindu being dumb as jack ass and stubborn as mule are trying to reimpose it in it’s worst form, minority appeasement.

  32. India should go back to the policy of having elections based on religion. We used to have it till about 100 years ago. Let Muslims vote for the Shura. Let others vote for the Parlement.

  33. Wow! What a bigoted article… Totally myopic. Literally the only thing I learnt from the article is the shallow, unformed and extremely biased nature of the writer.

  34. One of the worst person I read often in The Print , Shekhar Guptha has sold his soul to accommodate persons like this writer in print for money.

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