End of minority outreach? Ghar Wapsi dents morale of BJP Muslim leaders

The initial enthusiasm among the minority community for the BJP seems to be waning in Delhi after a spate of communally sensitive remarks from the party’s leaders and the insistence of the Hindutva outfits on the ghar wapsi programme. The members of the party’s minority morcha say they are a ‘demoralised’ lot now.

The upset workers say they face abuses when they stand outside mosque to distribute pamphlets and go among Muslims to convince them to vote in favour of the party.

“On one hand we convince the community that it should support the BJP because Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus is good governance and development and he talks about sabka saath, sabka vikas (together with all, development for all) while on the other, some of our leaders make communally sensitive remarks which hurt our sentiments,” a senior functionary of the party told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.

Representational image: Reuters

Representational image: Reuters

Another leader said the episode of ghar wapsi and recent series of provocative statements have tarnished the improving image of the party. “The politics of hate being practised by our party leaders has not only damaged the party image, which was improving among Muslims but also brought our moral down. We will no longer reach out to Muslims if the party does not control its leaders. We will not tolerate this hypocrisy,” he said.

“After Love Jihad farce, there is a new drama of Ghar Wapsi. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s approval to the campaign has added salt to the wound. Everyone has a right to convert himself. But this should not be done through inducements or threats,” he said, comparing the Taliban with Sangh. “If Taliban thinks everybody should be a Muslim, they have an Indian counterpart in the Sangh which believes everybody in India is a Hindu,” he puts forth.

If the saffron party really wants to reach out to Muslims, it will have to try hard to win their confidence, he added. “Despite all odds, we are working tirelessly for the party. The BJP Minority Morcha will launch an aggressive membership campaign for 10 days. Our target is to add 1 lakh Muslim members and we have already achieved 45 percent of the set target,” he said.

“Although people have people have become member and assured us for their support to the party, but they are still apprehensive only because of the controversial remarks,” he added.

Claiming that the BJP  does not need Muslim votes, one more senior leader said, “Polarisation and sharp division of votes in nine Muslim dominated constituencies will help the party win. Why should it bother about Muslim votes?”

Delhi BJP Minority Morcha President Atif Rasheed also admitted that recent controversies have brought down the moral of the party’s Muslim workers but still claimed that whatever has been said was a slip of tongue and that the prime minister has nothing to do with it.

“No doubt, recent controversies have damaged the party’s prospects but I am sure whatever has been said is not the line of Prime Minister Modi. All the remarks were made in personal capacity and the party has already given clarification on that. We will continue reaching out to Muslims with the same spirit. Despite resistance and opposition, our support base in the community is growing day by day,” he told Firstpost.

Sources said few strong Muslim contenders have suddenly stopped lobbying for party tickets to contest the elections sensing the mood of the people.

Updated Date: Dec 22, 2014 16:20 PM

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