There is a big number of Muslims being associated with the BJP this time in Gujarat, whereas the community kept aloof after 2002 communal disturbances.
But things seem to be changing for the Muslim Community as a lot of people from all over the state are now joining the BJP and public functions are held by BJP MLA’s and other party members in Ahmedabad and Surat where scores of people are embracing saffron outfit in a hope that ‘vikas’ will be delivered to them.
Nearly 500 Muslim men and women joined BJP in a function organized by Jamalpur-Khadia MLA Bhushan Bhatt in Danilimda, Ahmedabad and communally sensitive Limbayat, near Surat where people were seen campaigning in skull caps and saffron scarves.
This clearly shows that BJP’s seriousness in its approach towards the minority votes is working and probably attracting young Muslims to join the party, they have kept distance with, till now.
Most of those who joined the BJP seemed happy with the kind of development work that is going on in their area under the BJP government.
Earlier people in the community even struggled to earn one lakh rupees per year are now earning much higher and the family incomes have substantially gone up.
With this recent wave of people joining the party, it is boosting PM Modi’s motto of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”, in his own home turf.
They even are trying to woo Muslim voters through Rashtriya Muslim Manch (RMM) an arm of the RSS and an assortment of nearly 50 Muslim clergies are expected to arrive in Gujarat from the various BJP-ruled States in the run-up to the Gujarat polls to boost confidence among the voters.
The drawing of Muslims towards BJP this time round could also be due to the successful verdict of the Supreme Court against ‘Triple Talaq’, a form of separation against which Muslim women have been campaigning since years.
Now that the Supreme Court has termed it unconstitutional there is a chance that the BJP may attract a large number of Muslim women votes.
Though the positive shift in how Muslim’s view of BJP is quite apparent, the party has not fielded a Muslim candidate in the state for many years.
The coming elections also have no representation of the community in ticket allocation and not a single seat has a Muslim candidate from BJP.
However, the long divide is slowly healing up and it would be interesting to see if the Muslim community will again embrace the party they have kept distance for since years.