The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its current membership drive, is busy attracting second rung politicians from other parties and neutral persons who can influence the voters, but its Minority Morcha has a different task — getting as many Muslims as possible into its fold.
The Rayalaseema region has a large Muslim population with the community occupying lower, middle and upper income groups in several villages.
It is not just that Muslims cannot be wished away in some cluster of villages, but they hold a decisive sway in some constituencies too. It is this reason that brought the Morcha’s national president Abdul Rashid Ansari, general secretary S.M. Akram, State president Khalifullah Basha and secretary Jameel Ahmed all the way to Kadapa on Wednesday for the drive. “We will wipe out the malicious campaign that the BJP is a communal party. The Morcha has started a campaign in Kadapa, Chittoor, Prakasam and Nellore, apart from the capital region. Our target is to enrol at least 10,000 minorities from every district, which includes Christians and Buddhists,” asserted Mr. Khalifullah Basha.
Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the membership drive, he said the exercise was aimed at strengthening the party from the booth level, under the tagline ‘Mera Booth Mazbooth’. “100 Muslims voluntarily joined the party on Wednesday, who were earlier associated with the TDP, Jana Sena or the Congress.”
When the Morcha raised the issue of alleged financial irregularities in the construction of ‘Haj House’ in Kadapa, the Central government ostensibly took serious note of it. Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi reportedly assured the party delegation of earmarking a higher share of two wheelers under the ‘Scooty Yojna’ to minority girls studying Intermediate and above.