Catering to backward Pasmanda Muslims, the BJP fielded four candidates, three of them women, from the community in the forthcoming polls by Delhi’s civic bodies. These suitors include a social activist, a would-be lawyer, and a scrap metal dealer.
The Pasmanda community has 41 “castes”, including Ansari, Qureshi, Mansoori, Salmani and Siddiqui. They work in professions such as butchers and weavers and are considered the most backward in social, economic and political terms. Speaking to PTI, the BJP candidates say they are getting a good response from people in their respective wards. The saffron party fielded Irfan Maliq from Chandni Mahal, Samina Raja from Quraish Nagar, Saba Ghazi from Chauhan Bangar and Shabnam Maliq from Mustfabad wards of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
”The mentality of Muslims changes over time. People are now focusing on service delivery and how can they get benefits from the government rather than sticking to the Hindu-Muslim cliché,” Samina said when asked how she manages to convince people to vote for his party.
Samina, whose family has been associated with the Delhi BJP, says she worked as a social worker as well as a board member of BJP’s Mahila Morcha. The Quraish Nagar neighborhood has around 28,000 Muslim voters, of whom 10,000 to 15,000 are Pasmanda Muslims and 15,000 to 17,000 are Hindus, she said. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded seven Muslim candidates in the 2017 municipal elections. Delhi BJP spokesman Yasir Gilani said that although fewer Muslims were fielded by the party, “our aim prove that the BJP can get the votes of the minority community and win seats dominated by them”. Underlining the BJP’s motto “sabka saath, sabka vikas”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July advised party workers to also reach out to disadvantaged and oppressed sections of minorities. The party had also recently promoted a Gujjar from the Pasmanda community in Jammu and Kashmir – Ghulam Ali Khatana – to the Rajya Sabha.
Chandni Mahal BJP candidate Irfan Maliq, a scrap dealer, says the party’s slogan “sabka sath sabka vikas” is now also having an impact on Muslims. ”I have been associated with the minority BJP morcha for 10 years. In my neighborhood, people, 95% of whom are Muslims, are grappling with the problem of drinking water. People are getting sick, losing teeth and hair and facing other problems from using deep bore water,” he told PTI.
The party’s candidate, Shabnam Maliq, notes that it is time to allay Muslim apprehensions about the BJP. “I meet people from my community every day and as a BJP candidate, I don’t feel any negative vibes from them,” says the social worker, adding that she based her hope of victory on the domination of Muslims of Pasmanda in the Mustafabad region. . Echoing similar sentiments, BJP candidate Saba Ghazi says people are now seeing how the Modi government has benefited them. ”People look at their immediate problems. So they can see for themselves how the Modi government has benefited them and what other parties have done for them,” adds Saba, who studied law. Elections for 250 wards of Delhi Municipality will be held on December 4 and the results will be announced on December 7. PTI VIT SRY SRY
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