Reaching out to deprived, non-elite among Muslims and other minorities on the issues of development and welfare programmes of the Modi government was one of the things flagged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the National Executive meet of the BJP in Hyderabad.
According to senior sources present at the meeting, Mr. Modi made this intervention when BJP Uttar Pradesh unit chief Swatantra Dev Singh was speaking about the party’s victory in the recently concluded bypolls in Rampur and especially Azamgarh, both seats strongholds of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and with significant Muslim populations. Backward Muslim communities form the majority of that community and refer to themselves as Pasmandas, the non-Syed section of the Muslim community.
Sources said Mr. Modi said that while there had been many experiments with social equations with regard to caste groups among Hindus such as Dalits, Brahmins and others, it was time that such social equations be explored among other religious groups also. The BJP’s win, especially in Azamgarh, has been a surprise as the seat had been held by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who resigned his Lok Sabha seat after becoming a member of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in March 2022.
The Prime Minister reportedly said that the party had had eight years of development work for minorities and marginalised sections and it was time to see how the development dividend was impacting beneficiaries.
Interestingly, though BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, the Yogi government has one Muslim Minister, Danish Ansari, a Pasmanda Muslim, who was elected a member of the legislative council.