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Published On:26 June 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

SPECIAL REPORT: ‘Rich Muslims trying to strike deal with Narendra Modi to run businesses unhindered’

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: In recent past there were many so-called Muslim leaders who met Chief Minister Narendra Modi personally. Most of the leaders are very rich. Some ulemas also had a meeting with the CM. The response of the richer Muslims, who also have nowhere else to turn, has been to try and strike up a deal with the state government. Those belonging to the Bohra and Khoja communities, for example, are trying to see if they cannot run their businesses unhindered in return for offering their political support to Modi.

After last week's reception of chief minister Narendra Modi at Wankaner by the earstwhile princes, many of them have shown interest in joining his party. Modi's image-makeover efforts initiated a few years ago seem to be paying off. Muslims who were disillusioned with the CM after the infamous 2002 riots now seem to change their attitude towards the chief minister and his political party.

Crown prince Nawabzada Salauddinkhan Babi of Balasinor is keen to join the BJP and serve the people of his region, mainly because he is "impressed" by Modi's work.

Babi belongs to the erstwhile princely state of Babi dynasty in Balasinor in Kheda district.

He, along with the entire Babi family, was present at a function held at the royal palace in Wankaner where Wankaner prince Keshridevshinh Zala officially became a member of the BJP on Sunday in the presence of Modi.

Nawab Jahangir Khan, the scion of the erstwhile princely state of Dasada in Surendranagar district, was also present at the function. Salauddinkhan is all praise for Modi and the development work done in the state by the CM. He wants to begin his political career by joining the BJP.

"For the past four years, I am settled here. Earlier, I was doing my business in Delhi and Mumbai. The local youth keep telling me that something should be done for the region," 32-year-old Salauddinkhan told here

Salauddinkhan, along with his father Nawab Salabatkhan Babi and mother Begum Farhat Sultana Babi, met Modi in Wankaner and discussed various issues with him.

Talking about Modi, Babi said: “Modi has done great development work for the state, which was never done earlier by anyone. Neither he invited me to join the BJP nor had I requested him for the same. So it will be great to join the development work and serve the people.”

Salauddinkhan’s mother Sultana Babi was once president of the Balasinor municipality.
Though she was an independent candidate, she had the backing of the BJP.
Salauddinkhan said, “Modi is really a CM - ‘Common Man’ — as he is very humble and down-to-earth.’’

Salauddinkhan now takes care of the heritage hotel and agricultural business of his family. He has also asked Modi to promote Balasinor as a tourist site by bringing in development and growth there. Balasinor is well-known for its dinosaur hatcheries excavation site.

Princess Aaliya of the erstwhile state is working on the dinosaur tourism project there.
A Muslim corporator from Saurashtra Babi sama is very much happy with CM Modi's development spree in thestate. Sama, 43, is the wife of Habib Sama, a two-term general secretary of the BJP minority cell of Rajkot city. They have four children – three sons and a daughter.

"The people will vote overwhelmingly for Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in coming election" she said, crediting him with the state's economic and infrastructure development. "A stage has now been reached where the development oriented initiatives of Narendra Modi are drawing the Muslim community towards the party." she said.

According to Sama, both Hindus and Muslims desire development. When they see it happening, people are likely to be drawn towards the party behind it. "Chief Minister Modi is a magnet in this regard who has mesmerized people with his hard work and people oriented governance," she said.

Noted human rights activist J S Bandukwala, who is also the president of the Gujarat unit of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), points out that Modi is using the his guts to divert the focus so that Muslims forget his complicity in 2002 riots and he gets acceptability among BJP allies in NDA so that he can fulfill his dream of playing a role in BJP at national level. However, Bandukwala, who himself suffered a lot in 2002 riots, painfully says that there were a group of Muslims like former IPS and IAS officers and industrialists and also `Maulanas' who were working at the behest of Modi to forget 2002 in exchange for material benefits.

According to Bandukwala, pro-BJP results in Muslim dominated pockets are also due to reorganisation of wards and seats by BJP government to divide the Muslim areas in such a way so that Muslims politically become ineffective. He gives the examples of Mughalwada in Vadodara which had been split into three pieces and each part clubbed separately with three other wards with Hindu majority so as to make Muslims politically meaningless. He said that the Congress was also collaborating with the BJP in this endeavour.

If Bandukwala is to be believed, then there is another reason as well. According to him, it is the Congress stalwart Ahmed Patel not allowing any other Muslim leader to grow. The young Muslims with ambition and feeling frustrated with the Congress due to Patel's tactics are therefore drifting to BJP that has provided a space to them to realise their political aims.

But Mehboob Ali, Gujarat BJP (Minority Cell) president opines that Muslims are joining BJP and support it because of the Congress party's indifferent attitude towards the community. While the Congress did practically nothing except raising slogans of extending benefits to the community, it resulted in secular Hindus as well turning against Muslims being projected as pampered class. According to Ali, it only led to more suffering for the community and members of it have now seem to have realised the Congress tactics and slowly moving towards BJP because there is no third political option available in Gujarat.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 26, 2011. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on June 26, 2011. Filed under , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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