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BJP slows down unaided madrasas action, focuses on Pasmanda Muslim for UP bypolls

Eyeing Rampur and Khatauli assembly bypolls, the Bharatiya Janata Party is focusing on Pasmanda Muslim in Uttar Pradesh and trying to woo them.

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In this by-election, the BJP has deployed several Muslim leaders in its campaign. (Photo: Reuters)

By Abhishek Mishra: For the first time in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party is aggressively wooing Muslim voters in the Rampur and Khatauli assembly bypolls to be held on December 5. The BJP leaders are engaged in wooing the Pasmanda Muslims in both these seats, for which the campaign and dialogue is in full swing.

While the Jaat and Muslim equation in Khatauli may give the party an advantage, in Rampur Sadar, a Muslim-majority constituency, 55 per cent of the nearly 3.80 lakh voters are from the Muslim community.

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In this by-election, the party has deployed several Muslim leaders in its campaign, who are facing questions on Yogi's decision to conduct a survey of madrasas in the state at the grassroots level. The Muslim community is asking questions about the survey of madrassas, when campaigners ask them to vote for the BJP and try to tell them that the BJP government is working for their welfare, they still seem to be confused about the government's intention regarding the madrasa survey.

According to party sources, the workers have been asked to answer such questions calmly and explain to the voters that the survey is being done because the government wants madrasa students to get modern education and build their career. The state government on August 30 directed district magistrates to conduct a survey of unrecognized madrasas which began on September 10 and found around 8,500 madrasas functioning without obtaining recognition from the State Madrasa Education Board.

On the other hand, in the by-elections of Rampur and Khatauli, this time it is trying to bring its Pasmanda outreach program to the grassroots level for the socially and economically backward Muslim castes. BJP leaders are claiming that more than 3 crore Pasmanda Muslims have got free ration in UP, more than 1.25 lakh have got the benefit of Ayushman card, 75 lakh have got PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, more than 40 lakh free Electricity connection has been given, 20 lakh houses have been given.

Also Read | How candidate choice holds the key for SP, BJP in Mainpuri and Rampur bypolls

The party even recently organized a convention of Pasmanda Muslims in Rampur, which was attended by UP Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak, former Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State in the UP government Danish Azad Ansari and the party's minority wing president Kunwar Basit Ali. Speaking to India Today, Kunwar Basit Ali said that the BJP government has done maximum work for the Pasmanda Muslims and stating the same, there is an exercise to connect this community.

"More than 200 leaders of the wing from different districts are camping in the area and are campaigning door to door for the BJP candidate. We are sure that a good chunk of Muslim voters who are beneficiaries of government schemes will vote for the BJP in the bypolls. We are talking to them and answering their questions," he added.

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UP's Deputy Chief Minister Brijesh Pathak, who is engaged in uniting Pasmanda Muslims, told India Today that this society has benefited the most from the schemes of the Modi and Yogi government and the government has worked for every section without discrimination.

“Where the previous governments used them only for political interest, the BJP wants to bring them into the mainstream and give them their rights, which is the concern of the opposition, who were using the Pasmanda Muslims as a vote bank. On the other hand, legal process will continue in the case of madrasas Survey,” said Pathak.

Also Read | BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit finalises list of candidates for bypolls, sent to central brass for nod

Whereas, Samajwadi Party has raised questions on this strategy and termed it as biased politics of BJP. SP spokesperson Fakhrul Hasan Chand said that on the one hand BJP is suppressing Muslims by adopting tactics like Hindu-Muslim, Azhaan-Kirtan, Love Jihad and madrasa survey, while talking about the interest of Pasmanda Muslims, they are doing politics to get votes. “The aim of BJP is not to serve the interest of Pasmanda Muslims, but to move ahead by taking advantage of them in the elections, in which the action of madrassas will also gain momentum after the by elections,” said the SP spokesperson.

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At the same time, the Congress party has termed it as dual face of BJP. Congress leader Surendra Rajput said that on the one hand the party campaigns for the welfare of the Pasmanda Muslims, while on the other hand it shows the double mindedness of the BJP by setting its agenda by showing fear of action on survey and unrecognized madrassas and spoiling the atmosphere of the state. The voter will not be confused, and BJP will not get any advantage of this strategy in the by-polls.

On this issue, political analyst Ratanmani Lal also believes that the by-elections of Khatauli and Rampur in UP are a big election for the Samajwadi Party as well as the BJP. In the recent days, after the way the survey of unrecognized madrassas was discussed, now in the by-election environment, the government and the administration seem to be taken a back on it, which can be understood that it will affect the equation on these two seats. Due to which the party is currently not ready to act against the madrassas. The decision seems to be on the backfoot.

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While senior leaders and other activists of the minority wing have been assigned the responsibility of campaigning in Rampur and Khatauli, which is divided into four mandal units, the victory for both the Rampur and Azamgarh Lok Sabha seats has given confidence of winning the bypolls. Now playing the card of party Pasmanda Muslim, BJP is trying to strengthen itself in these two seats.

The BJP has deployed the big guns while the top leadership of the SP is busy with the Mainpuri bypoll. From PWD Minister Jitin Prasad to cabinet minister Suresh Khanna, Ministers Baldev Singh Aulakh, Dharampal Singh, Danish Azad Ansari and state party president Bhupendra Singh Chowdhary, CM Yogi Adityanath is in Rampur on December 2nd and Khatauli on November 30th to address the public meeting. At the same time, it is estimated that at least a dozen more ministers will visit Rampur and Khatauli before the end of the campaign.