New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has chalked out an ambitious plan to garner the support of the Muslim community in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh — it plans to hold ‘tiffin meetings’, conduct seminars and conferences on ‘Taleem aur Tijarat’ (education and commerce), and ask party workers to reach out to as many minority voters as possible.
Ministers, MLAs and party workers are all being asked to approach Muslim voters through these programmes.
Muslims comprise around 19 per cent of the total population of UP, and the BJP has decided to focus on areas dominated by the community where it lost by a slim margin in 2017. It plans to highlight the steps taken by the Narendra Modi government in the last seven years to provide better education to the community, and better avenues for commerce.
While there is no definitive data available on whether or not the Muslim community votes for the BJP, according to ‘Studies in Indian Politics‘, a statistical report on the election results in all states conducted between 2017 to 2018, “an analysis of the results (Uttar Pradesh) by proportion of Muslim population in constituencies shows that BJP was ahead both in terms of votes and seats in both low and high Muslim-dominated constituencies”.
Speaking to ThePrint, Jamal Siddiqui, national president of the BJP’s Minority Morcha, said a nationwide campaign will be launched to make the Muslim community aware of the steps taken by the Modi government for its welfare, with special emphasis on poll-bound states such as Uttar Pradesh.
“At all levels, our leaders, right from block and district level to ministers, will initiate informal discussions with the Muslim population. This will be done over lunch and everyone will carry their own tiffin and eat together. This will also spread a positive message to the society,” Siddiqui said.
“Our government has done a lot of work for the minority community, whether it is abolishing Triple Talaq, providing them housing, or creating new job opportunities. We will go door-to-door and inform the people about it,” he added.
Party targets 5,000 minority workers in each assembly seat
According to a senior BJP leader, the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP Minority Morcha has also set a target to create at least 5,000 new minority workers in each assembly constituency. “Under this, 100 people have been given the responsibility in each assembly constituency to create contact with at least 50 families,” said a BJP leader who did not wish to be named.
“There are a number of Muslim majority seats where we lost out by a slim margin in 2017. For instance, in Saharanpur Nagar, we lost to the Samajwadi Party by over 4,000 votes. In Dholana, which comes under the Ghaziabad district, the margin was also very slim. Similarly, we have identified more such seats and work has already started on them,” added a second BJP leader.
The BJP’s minority wing, in its National Executive meeting held on 24 October, discussed the roadmap for the upcoming assembly elections.
Under the ‘Taleem aur Tijarat’ programme, workshops, seminars and conferences will also be held across the country, though the focus will also be on poll-bound states.
“It has been decided that an introductory training session will also be held to apprise the BJP workers about the various schemes of the Modi government for the upliftment of the Muslim community. Once trained, these workers will then be sent across Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, among others,” said a third leader.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)