Consider welfare schemes for Muslims by Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath governments, leave behind 70 years of “bonded slavery” by other parties, and look beyond being seen as vote banks: this is the appeal made by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch to mobilise Muslims in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh to vote for the BJP.
An organisation associated with the RSS, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) has been tasked with mobilising the minority community ahead of the assembly elections. Sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of at least five crore minority votes for the BJP by 2024.
The appeal has come at a time when the BJP is facing a challenge of consolidation of Muslim votes ahead of the crucial UP polls. The Yogi Adityanath-led government has, however, found an ally in the MRM that is mobilising its cadre in Muslim-dominated areas.
Sources further said 400 to 500 of the organisation’s representatives will be touring the state to raise awareness on the Modi-led government’s ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ tagline through welfare schemes for the community. The party is wary of and is trying to avoid the kind of consolidation of Muslim votes during the assembly polls in West Bengal.
“We have worked in the Muslim community during the Ram temple verdict and many such occasions. Our cadre is aware of the progress in Muslim community during the BJP’s rule. We have Muslim workers who are literate and know their rights. They are heard when they go into their community. They will be distributing leaflets. We are not affiliated with the RSS, so we work openly in poll-bound states,” a source said.
The MRM has also come out with a letter of appeal, a leaflet with an appeal to the minority community to not become vote banks for parties such as SP, BSP, Congress, TMC, AAP and AIMIM, and to give a chance to the BJP instead. The leaflet also claims that communal riots and attacks on Muslims have drastically reduced during the BJP regime.
The BJP has been under attack from the opposition for peddling “communal agenda” with CM Yogi’s “80 versus 20” comment.
A senior functionary of the MRM talked more about the need to reach out to the community through numbers. “We are approximately 19 per cent in the state and hold sway over 144 assembly constituencies. Our community should be enlightened to see who wishes well for them and who does not.”
The MRM leaflet also talks about welfare schemes for Muslims with special emphasis on a “bright future for Muslim women”. The literature cites the number of Muslims fielded by the BJP in Gujarat, Lakshadweep and Jammu and Kashmir elections.
“Be it Congress, SP, TMC, AAP, Owaisi or RJD, every political party has treated Muslims as a vote bank. The BJP cares the most for the community. States like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab, Goa, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh will be going to polls in 2022-2023. Over the past 70 years, all political parties treated Muslims as vote bank and turned them into bonded slaves through appeasement. This was broken by the Modi government in 2014 with his slogan of ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwas’. That is why, in 2019, both Hindus and Muslims voted for the BJP. We request you to cast vote for the BJP this time,” read an appeal in the MRM leaflet.
The leaflet further reads, “It is imperative to vote for Modi and Yogi for a brighter future of Muslim women and everyone else in the community.”
The literature also gives a detailed account of welfare schemes by the Yogi-led government for the Muslim community. Citing CM Yogi’s address in the assembly, the leaflet states that though Muslims are 19 per cent in the state, they have received around 30 to 35 per cent benefit from schemes.
“The PM and CM’s intention is to uplift minorities and ensure trust via ‘Ek haath mein Quran aur doosre haath mein computer’,” states the leaflet in a reference to the modernisation of the education system at madrasas.