Varanasi: Why many Muslims find hope in Narendra Modi - Debobrat Ghose

Varanasi: Amid all talk of communal polarization and the Muslim antipathy towards Narendra Modi, a section of the community has been working silently to ensure the latter's victory in Varanasi. The young Muslim men and women campaigning for Modi in the walled-city part of the Hindu religious centre offer an interesting insight into the changing mindset in the community, which for long followed the diktats of religious leaders while making its political choice.

“A new perception has emerged amongst the Muslims. They now want to vote for development, unlike in the past. Narendra Modi has emerged as a new political icon on whom many Muslims feel they can depend on,” says Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, an educationist, who runs a school amongst weavers in Bajardiah.

]Getty Images Getty Images According to Dr Javed, a doctorate in Statistics from BHU, the gradual shift amongst Muslims towards the BJP has been due to Modi, otherwise considered ‘anti-Muslim'. “Muslims have so far voted for Congress or non-BJP parties, but have only got exploited in return. The Congress used Sachar committee report to showcase the neglect faced by the Muslims, but did nothing about it.” Muslims comprise 15 percent of Varanasi's population. “There are 2.80 lakh Muslim voters and nearly 12-15% will vote for BJP,” he says.

The BJP is pinning hopes on the weavers' community of Muslims (Ansaris). Modi has promised to rejuvenate their dying handlooms. “A large number of weavers have already migrated to Surat. Considering the better condition of Muslim weavers in Gujarat, we've decided to vote for Modi as he may bring a change,” says Iqbal Ahmed Ansari, a fourth generation weaver from Bajardiah.

But, he feels that other BJP leaders should also extend a hand towards Muslims, without harbouring misconception that Muslims won't vote for the party.

A big chunk of support for Modi from the community has come from its women. It was evident on 8 May when Modi's cavalcade passed through the highly sensitive Muslim-dominated Madanpura. “I've never seen such a tremendous response to a political rally like that of Modi's. Women and children came out on streets, stood at roof tops to have his glimpse and showered petals and Itra (perfume) on him,” recalls Madanpura resident Afsana Begum.

Though it's difficult to say how much of it would get converted into votes for Modi, a big credit for this paradigm shift goes to two Muslim women in their twenties, who both hold a master's degree in Conflict Management from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

One of them, Najma Parveen is the president of the Bhartiya Awam Party (BAP), an all-women's political party, which claims more than 35,000 members, with 90% women and 10% reserved for men. BAP works towards creating political awareness among Muslim women and salutes Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as its ideal.

“We're not contesting the election this time but supporting Modiji for which we're mobilising Muslims to vote for him, and also trying to wash-off rumours spread against him by other political parties,” says Parveen.

The BAP members visit various Muslim localities and hold interactive sessions to present their point of view. “We're making them realise that Muslims are not mere vote banks and we too need development,” says Parveen.

The other leader is Nazneen Ansari, president of the Muslim Mahila Foundation (MMF) set up in 2006 that works for Muslim women. Despite facing threats from the ruling Samajwadi Party and police, as Ansari claims, the MMF continues to canvas for Modi.

“We're apolitical and want to tell our people that the Godhra riot stigma on Modi was a political conspiracy. Had Modi been anti-Muslim, there would have been more riots in Gujarat after 2000. Instead, progress has taken place there. Besides, there have been riots in other states including UP,” she reasons.

A sentiment common to most Muslims here is that of indignation over being taken for granted as vote banks by the Congress and other parties. Fahim Ansari, a weaver from Badsha Bagh, says, “More than development, a Muslim wants izzat (respect); and these political parties during elections publicly demonstrate false respect for us by addressing us as ‘our Muslim brothers, etc', which has not been the case with the BJP.”

The RSS has been working hard not to let the pockets of goodwill evaporate. Indresh Kumar, a member of the RSS' national executive, has been camping in Varanasi. Despite being a hardliner within the Sangh Parivar, Kumar is known for his proximity towards Muslims. He's also the guiding force behind the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) - an independent body of 10 lakh members. Kumar and the MRM have been working in Varanasi for the past two years.

But according to BJP insiders, Kumar is in Varanasi to rein in the loud-mouthed right wing activists from Bajranj Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad etc, who otherwise could throw spanner in Modi's national agenda.

Political analyst Prof Kaushal Kishore Mishra sums up the sentiment. “Muslim voters are confused about who to vote for, but Modi has an edge, as people of Varanasi are getting the chance for the first time to have a PM candidate from their constituency, who talks of development.”

“Moreover, Modi has said that if he comes to power, there'll be a branch of PMO in Varanasi, which has heightened the expectations among voters, and caste-based polarisation is almost nil this time,” says Mishra, also the head of Political Science in BHU. more  

View all 13 comments Below 13 comments
Thanx.


On Tuesday, May 13, 2014 11:08 AM, Kamalakar Save <support@localcirclesmail.com> wrote: more  
Thanx.


On Wednesday, May 14, 2014 9:10 PM, Nirmaldev Kathuria <support@localcirclesmail.com> wrote: more  
Ms Sheetal Jain,

A very thought provoking write-up.
I too ,find a mind change amongst Muslims,who have been cajoled into thinking Modi is Anti Muslim.He is not.
The general feeling in the country is Muslims don't raise their voice when terrorists attack and kill innocent people which includes Muslims as well.A terrorist bomb does not see the different religion.
I wish there are more Muslims who come out in the open to support Modi.I can assure you Modiji will not be a silent listener .He is impartial and is a do Goodyear.You will all see that soon.after that. more  
If we start calling our countrymen/women as Indians, then the division made by vested interests in the name of religion, caste and creed will vanish one day.We must identify ourselves as Indian and individual must try to introduce by calling Indian only.
Every country have very different cultures, languages, religions and castes. Everybody is proud of their culture, religion etc. But it is seen that theswe entities are not used for any political gain. People must be proud of their religions and if anybody using it for any political gain, then that action must be immediately rejected on the basis of insulting the religion.
This way political use of religions will be stopped.
BEWARE AND REJECT PEOPLE WHO USE OUR RELIGION FOR THEIR GAINS AND BENEFITS! more  
better think , every body want next pm our india will be Mr. Modi Ji, i like very much the thought of modi ji, creative mind, long thinker, i think modi ji as a pm change better picture of our india, bharat mata ki jai, bande mataram, . bhaiyo aur bhanho our next PM is Mr. Narendra bhai modi. -----------------------------Rahul Singh more  
Post a Comment

Related Posts

    • ARE EVERYONE TIRED OF LOCKDOWN ?

      Now, it appears that both the governments and the public are tired of lockdown. It appears that people have reconciled themselves to live with COVID 19, just as they have been living wi...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • DISRESPECT TO CORONA INFECTED DECEASED PERSONS

      It is highly depressing to read news about the local people’s objection to bury / cremate the corona infected deceased persons in their locality. This is happening all over India and par...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • COVID 19 - LIFTING LOCKDOWN IN INDIA– A CALCULATED RISK THAT HAS TO BE TAKEN

      A team of management professional, technologists , trader with long experience in their respective field have put their heads together and arrived at suggestions for lifting the lockdown in the f...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • MR. MODI SHOULD BAN POLYGAMY TO PROTECT WOMEN’S DIGNITY AND CURB POPULATION GROWTH

      As we celebrate International women’s Day, it is surprising that no one seem to be talking about the practice of polygamy where one man marries several women. This is one of the most uncivil...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • DELHI POLICE – SINNED OR SINNED AGAINST ?

      Almost all section of Indian media and most of the critics have blamed the Delhi police for the riots for two days ,when many innocent lives were lost and many were injured and large scale propert...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • Someone get this chimpanzee booked

      He is openly challenging Delhi Police and Govt of India. "Trump के जाने तक तो हम शांति से जा रहे। लेकिन उसके बाद हम आपकी भी नही सुनेगे. सड़कें खाली करवाइए तब तक।" "Till Trump...

      By Rajesh Suri
      /
    • Hiow to deal with motivated agitators and terrorists ?

      For the last several days, some members of the Islamic group have been agitating against CAA. Now they are blocking roads in Delhi, Chennai and other places, though the government has assured that ...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • Lessons for bjp

      3 lessons for BJP after Delhi: 1) Ideological issues must be supplemented by a solid governance agenda 2) There has to be a vibrant local unit with mohalla presence, & not mer...

      By Rajesh Suri
      /
    • Divisive campaigns have no place in aspirationals

      It was बिजली, पानी, शिक्षा, सुरक्षा chunav till a few weeks ago & then Shaheenbagh became the centrepiece of BJP’s campaign.For weeks women of shaheenbagh were demonised.If exit poll num...

      By Sonal Das
      /
    • Rahul Gandhi is an idiot

      Today Rahul Gandhi said; Ye jo Narendra Modi bhashan de raha hai, 6 mahine baad ye ghar se bahar nahi nikal payega. Hindustan ke yuva isko aisa danda marenge, isko samjha denge ki Hindustan k...

      By Shikha Jain
      /
    • Shameful news 18 India

      You ask a CM in power to prove that he cares about Hanuman and ask him to sing hanuman chalisa live. Well handled Kejriwal ji. Fan of u again in last 2 years. Worth watching everyone

      By Rajesh Suri
      /
Share
Enter your email & mobile number and we will send you the instructions

Note - The email can sometime gets delivered to the spam folder, so the instruction will be send to your mobile as well

Please select a Circle that you want people to invite to.
Invite to
(Maximum 500 email ids allowed.)