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02 May 2012

BJP wooing Muslims to expand its base

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By Abhay Singh

Patna: As the national BJP has read a certain slide in the public stock of the Congress-led UPA at the Centre and also signs of possible re-emergence of space for the NDA in the national arena despite confusions caused by the talks regarding possible formation of the Third Front, the party has seemingly taken to wooing people of Muslim minority community in Bihar, where the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government has been ruling the roost for over the last six years in continuation.

Accordingly, in his bid to clear any confusion on that point, senior BJP leader and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi on Monday appealed to the people of the Muslim minority community in Bihar to ignore the anti-BJP propaganda unleashed by some political parties, specially the Congress and the RJD, and also asked them to join the BJP, as for the first time, a Muslim, Saba Jafar, has been elected MLA on the BJP ticket in the state.

Modi was particular in reminding his audience that the anti-BJP propaganda, underlined by "jajbaati baaten (emotional matters)", first failed in Uttar Pradesh. "Subsequently, it failed in Bihar, too," he said while addressing a function organized at the state BJP headquarters to celebrate the entry of Sheikh Muzammil, former national secretary of LJP, into the BJP along with his supporters.

Curiously, in the recent months, despite a number of prime ministerial aspirants in the BJP, the gravity within the party has been shifting towards Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, whose rule, however, is haunted by Gujarat riots, but nearly offset or drowned by the hoopla that surrounds the "development plank", so much so that even corporate players, both in the country and outside, have not been shy of praising his rule for the same reason.

"The BJP believes in taking the people of all caste and communities along with it on the path of development. Our party has been practising it in Bihar as an inalienable part of the NDA government. We want Muslims to also join the mainstream," the deputy CM said, adding that the party's minority front had opened its units in all 38 districts of the state.

Among the steps taken by the Bihar government for improving the lot of Muslims in the state, he referred to effective running of Maulana Mazharul Haq Arabic and Persian University, fencing of Muslim graveyards for which annual allotment had been increased to Rs 100 crore, grant of Rs 10,000 scholarship to Muslim girls who pass matriculation in first division, grant of scholarship to school children belonging to scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and extremely backward caste (EBC) sections that also includes Muslims, and taking steps to send their children to schools.

"Earlier, graveyards used to be the cause of many a tension in the state. Caste and community tensions have not occurred, and social harmony is the norm in our state," the deputy CM said.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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