In the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hopeful of getting votes from the Muslim community and is busy trying to woo them.
After implementing the law against “Triple talaq”, the Modi government is trying to send a message that it is committed to provide justice to Muslim women and is confident that the latter will vote for the BJP in the ongoing elections.
However, like in the past elections, the BJP has not fielded a single Muslim candidate this time too, but its NDA ally Apna Dal has fielded one against the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Abdullah Azam Khan, the son of Mohammed Azam Khan, from the Suar Assembly constituency of Rampur district.
On the other hand, opposition parties such as the SP, BSP and Congress have fielded a large number of Muslim candidates and are keen to secure the Muslim votebank.
The BJP, however, feels that the various welfare schemes implemented by the governments both at the Centre and in the state will influence the Muslim voters. This is the reason that the saffron party is hopeful of getting votes from the community.
Bharatiya Janata Party workers have made all-out efforts in the Assembly constituencies where the Muslim votes will likely have a huge impact on the election results. The BJP’s star campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent election rally said Muslim women are aware of the corruption-free and clean image of his government.
“My government has freed Muslim women from the archaic practice of Triple talaq and enacted a law against it to protect their fundamental rights,” Modi said.
Modi added that the opposition parties which consider themselves as ‘custodians of the Muslim community’ are feeling insecure with women from the community praising him.
“If the Muslim votes transfer to the BJP, then their (opposition parties) politics will be in danger, so new ways are being found to curtail the rights of Muslim sisters and daughters. However, it remains to be seen if the statements of opposition parties resonate with the Muslims,” he said.
According to the 2011 population census, the number of Muslims in the country is 3.85 crore, which is nearly 19.26 per cent of the entire population of Uttar Pradesh. The majority of them live in western and eastern Uttar Pradesh, Rohilkhand, Terai and Awadh regions.
Shaista Ambar, President of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, says “Elections are the biggest festival of democracy where every citizen of the country must actively participate. The election process helps in taking the country forward, providing employment, and the citizens have a right to elect a person of their choice. The Modi government has implemented various welfare schemes such as construction of toilets, houses, providing free ration cards etc which have benefitted crores of people in the country. Several opposition parties have given condemnable statements to vitiate the political discourse but Muslims must vote for the party which maintains peace and gives employment.”
Nur Bano, a resident of Kanpur, says that Muslim women will cast their votes but it is not necessary to tell whom they will vote for. The Modi government has done a lot of good work. The biggest step has been criminalisation of Triple talaq. Providing free ration to Muslim women is another major achievement of the Modi government. What more can be expected from any party other than these two major steps? The only issue which remains is providing employment to youth from the community, she adds.
Uttar Pradesh BJP Minority Morcha General Secretary, Danish Azad says that the BJP government does not discriminate among people on the basis of their caste or religion. The last person in line, including Muslims, is availing the benefits of each and every welfare scheme.
“Our Muslim sisters have attained freedom from the regressive practice like Triple talaq. Every poor section of the society is being provided free toilets, houses etc. The people will choose only that government which works for the interest of people. During the ongoing state Assembly elections, the Muslims will vote in favour of the BJP and will help it form the government,” Azad says.”