Jamal Siddiqui, National President of the Minority Front in BJP, himself belongs to the backward class. He says that the BJP minority front is the representation of backward Muslims at all levels. Acting on PM’s appeal, Morcha is forming a national committee.
Voters from the Muslim and Pasmanda communities have always played a crucial role in the politics of Uttar Pradesh. Whomever these voters vote in favor of, their chances of victory increase greatly, but this society cannot take advantage of it, but instead of them, upper caste leaders and people take advantage of it. In UP, these upper caste Muslims dominate major posts and politics. Now voices are starting to be raised from Pasmanda society against this injustice. Leaders leading Pasamanda Samaj say that we stayed with Congress, when it came to power, SP went to BSP, then they managed to form the government, but no one paid attention to our problems. Our society is grappling with illiteracy, unemployment and economic problems, but our voice is buried in the upper caste of Muslims. The Yogi government has made a leader of our society a minister. The people of our society are also getting the benefit of the schemes that the Yogi government is running for the poor. Now Prime Minister Modi has talked about paying attention to the development of Pasmanda society, it is very important for us. Our Muslims are 80-85% of the total population, if the BJP government listens and understands our problems, we will not have any objection against BJP.
It may be mentioned that in the past, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to the party leaders and workers to reach out to the most backward sections of the society at the BJP national executive meeting in Hyderabad. He said that we should reach out not only to Hindus, but also to the weaker sections of the minority community. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the Muslims of Pasamanda to join the party, the politics regarding the Pasamanda community has intensified. On the other hand, the talk of backward society came out of Modi’s mouth and here BJP has also started work in this direction. Along with this, one can clearly see the Muslim votes in the opposition parties.
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However, after this appeal of PM Modi, questions have also started to arise whether the BJP will be successful in connecting the Pasmanda Muslims and converting them into their vote bank? In the last few elections, the figures of eight to nine percent Muslim votes are coming for the BJP. In which the number of voters of Pasmanda community is more. BJP wants to further strengthen this vote bank. This will help the BJP retain power at the Center for longer and strengthen its hold in the southern states.
After this statement of Modi, the opposition is asking whether this campaign of BJP will have any effect on Pasmanda or Dalit and backward Muslims? Shakeel Shamsi, former editor of Urdu daily Inqilab and Muslim Liberation activist, says there is no caste discrimination in Islam. This is the reason why a large number of non-Muslims converted to Islam in the past. Even among Hindus, many people from the common, backward and oppressed classes converted. This difference is found only among Muslims of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Here the converts could not break out of their caste system.
Former Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar is the National President of ‘Pasamanda Muslim Mahaj’. According to Ali Anwar, the Ashraf (upper caste) is now the center of Muslim politics. Ajlaf (OBC) and Arjal (Dalit), collectively known as Pasmanda, have a very limited stake in politics. Arzal Muslims also do not get the benefit of Dalit reservation. Their participation in jobs is also very low. Just talking about Pasmanda will not do anything. Their participation in politics has to be increased. Till date no party has paid attention to backward Muslims, that’s why BJP is getting this opportunity. It will certainly have far-reaching implications. It has also been said that if the percentage of pasamanda among Muslims is 80 out of 100 then they should get their right. With this step of BJP, other parties also have to pay attention to this.
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Jamal Siddiqui, the National President of the Minority Front in the BJP, himself belongs to the Pasmanda community. He says that the BJP minority front is the representation of backward Muslims at all levels. Acting on PM’s appeal, Morcha is forming a national committee. The committee will monitor the participation of backward people in the states and the benefits of government schemes available to them. A similar committee will be formed at the state level as well. Besides this, Pasmanda Muslims will be given representation in the organization. According to Siddiqui, even the Muslim political parties have always ignored Ashraf and pushed ahead. These parties have created this gap, confusion and fear in the Muslim society. This is the reason why the Muslim community is continuously joining the BJP. Azamgarh and Rampur by-elections are the latest example.
After the Prime Minister’s appeal regarding Pasmanda society, this issue has started making headlines in the media as well. On this account, it can be debated whether BJP will benefit from the politics of backward Muslims. But it is clear that this initiative of BJP will strengthen the position of backward Muslims. Other parties that ignored Pasmanda Muslims now have to pay attention to them. An example of this has been seen in the MLC elections of UP. The Yogi government inducted Danish Ansari, a backward Muslim, into the cabinet in his second term. The Danish was not then a member of either house of state. This move of BJP has shocked all the parties. This is the reason why as soon as the Samajwadi Party got an opportunity to send someone to the Legislative Council, it also chose the backward Muslim Jasmir Ansari.
Like Modi, some political pundits and social reformers also believe that the backward Muslims were placed below the rest of the Muslims. This is because they are those Muslims who converted to Islam from other religions. These Muslim converts were part of the local population and converted to Islam much later. Most of these people used their titles based on occupation, such as Ansari (weaver) and Qureshi (butcher) etc. Let us tell you that Muslims coming from backward and oppressed class in Muslim society are called backward Muslims. They are said to be about 80 percent of the Muslim community. The remaining 20 percent are high caste Muslims like Syeds, Sheikhs, Pathans. It is claimed that despite being the most numerous they could not get the right according to their numbers. The society is dominated by 20 percent Muslims, who consider themselves converts and consider themselves descendants of Muslims from Arabia, Central Asia.
Not only this, these 20 percent forward Muslims are socially and economically strong and dominate all political parties. The leaders of the backward society believe that nothing special has been done for the upliftment of the backward society in Congress, SP, BSP etc. Political representation also did not get what it needed. In fact, if we look at the UP elections from 2014 to 2017, BJP focused its entire strategy on non-Muslim voters. The party rose to power at the Center and UP by following the path of Hindutva, linking the backward and downtrodden classes with the upper castes. Now in 2022, BJP has captured the power of UP again. But success this time involved a significant change. Party leaders are very excited about the ‘little support’ Pasmanda Muslims got in this victory. Party leaders believe that the Yogi Adityanath government during its first tenure in UP tried to benefit this department in all government schemes. Disadvantaged Muslims also benefited from these schemes. The result was that such people also voted for BJP.
Muslim votebank politics in Uttar Pradesh has had its own distinctive identity since its inception. At one time this vote bank was considered the base of Congress but gradually it became disillusioned with Congress and it started splitting into new parties like Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party. All the political developments in UP in the 90s were such that the Muslim-Yadav politics of the Samajwadi Party and the Muslim Dalit politics of the BSP became so strong that both parties often won power in Uttar Pradesh on their own. If we talk about the current round, according to the CSDS-Lokniti survey, the SP got the highest 70 percent Muslim votes in the 2022 assembly elections. Not that Muslims stayed away from the BJP entirely, the party got 8 percent of the vote. Now BJP was looking for hope in this percentage. After this, BJP’s victory in Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha by-elections has filled the party leaders with more energy. In fact, the Muslim vote bank is playing a crucial role in both these seats. BJP had earlier won in Rampur but Azamgarh victory was the biggest for it. Here, SP and BSP were contesting elections on the basis of Yadav-Muslim and Dalit-Muslim politics for years. After the Azamgarh victory, it was believed that all the schemes in the Yogi government’s first tenure, from Pradhan Mantri Awas, Ujjwala Yojana, benefited the Muslim community as well, the impact of which was seen in this. election
– Ajay Kumar