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Expelled Assam BJP leader claims party has no place for minorities, women

Ousted member of Assam BJP Benazir Arfan created a stir recently when she alleged that the national party engages the minority leaders only for optics and not beyond that.

Her allegations came days after she was expelled from the party for allegedly inviting people to participate in a hunger strike protesting atrocities against Rohingyas in Myanmar through a post published in the party’s WhatsApp group, an allegation which she vehemently denies.

 Expelled Assam BJP leader claims party has no place for minorities, women

File photo of Benazir Arfan with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image courtesy Benazir Arfan

"I was expelled from the party under false allegations. I never invited anyone to participate in any protest programme. Rather it was a prayer programme organised by an NGO for the solace of souls of Hindus and Muslims killed in recent incidents in Myanmar," Arfan, who was expelled on 18 September, told Firstpost.

Arfan said that she was targeted only because she was seen as a Muslim woman who could not be cowed down by patriarchal designs.

"Minority leaders and workers are welcomed to BJP only because the party needs to show a judicious representation of various communities in its hierarchy. But they are not given important portfolios, however talented they are," she said.

The former BJP leader went on to say that there is a striking difference between what the party professes and what it practices in reality.

"Though the party makes effort to be seen as an inclusive organisation, it shies away from providing Muslims with leading positions in the party and the government. It proves how much BJP cares about the minorities," Arfan said.

The Sarbananda Sonowal government in Assam has no Muslim member in the cabinet so far.

Arfan said that the same is true even in the case of women leaders of the party at least in the state.

The two BJP women MLAs have not made it to the council of ministers yet. Pramila Rani Brahma, who is the only woman cabinet minister in the state, is from the Bodo People's Front, an ally of the ruling BJP.

However, the BJP rubbishes her allegations as ones levelled only after she was expelled from the party on account of her 'repeated violation of party rules and regulations'.

"The allegations she raised are utter lies. ‘Sab Ka Saath Sabka Vikas’ has all along been the cardinal principle of the party, and none is above it however big leader he or she may be," said Assam BJP general secretary Pulok Gohain.

He also said that prior to expelling her, Arfan was repeatedly warned not to defy party rules and regulations, but she would not listen.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Sep 23, 2017 19:45:34 IST

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