BJP's new love for Muslims: Will minority oblige them in Maha polls?

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Muslims form significant percentage in Maharashtra
A ray of senior BJP leaders including party's Muslim face Najma Heptulla, Shahnawaz Hussain were in Maharashtra on Thursday. The leaders addressed Muslims in Mumbai's Shanmukhanand Hall and conveyed the new schemes to the party's minority cell. The leaders visited Maharashtra in run up to Assembly polls as per BJP's new poll strategy. The development clearly signifies that the party is trying to shed its anti-Muslim image and project itself as a 'party for all' in the upcoming polls.

During the event, the BJP leaders criticised the Congress Government for not doing anything for the welfare of the community. Najma Heptulla, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, hit out at the Congress, saying its secular image was a farce meant to entrap the minority community. Heptulla said, "Congress in the last 65 years has done nothing except to push the Muslims away from the path of growth. But it calls itself secular."

Muslims major players in Maharashtra politics

The Muslim community forms a significant percentage in the State. It constitutes of 11 per cent of the total population in Maharashtra and plays a definitive role in shaping the poll outcome in certain constituencies. Till now, the community has traditionally voted for the Congress and other parties. But, this time, the BJP is trying to reach out the Muslim community in better ways, whose votes could swing at least 80 seats the party's way.

Muslims in electoral decisive positions in over hundred seats

There are around hundred seats all over the State where Muslim population is in the range of minimum 10 to maximum 35 percent of the total. It can clearly swing the elections in anybody's favour if used tactically. Constituencies like Malegaon (Central), Bhiwandi (E) and Bhiwandi (W), Kamptee and quite a few number of seats in Mumbai and Konkan have enough number of Muslim population.

BJP trying to wipe out the party's anti-Muslim image

Since long time, the Muslims have been voting for the Congress and its allies, but the Lok Sabha elections saw a paradigm shift. The Muslims voted for development and not on the name of party or candidate. As a result, the Congress gained in only three minority-dominated constituencies of Byculla, Mumbadevi and Mankhurd (held by SP), while the NCP, too, lost the lead in three sitting segments, of which two have a sizeable Muslim population.

BJP trying to project itself as a 'party for all' in Assembly polls

Wiping out its anti-Muslim image, BJP is trying to project itself as a party for all in the upcoming polls. On BJP's mind are segments in Thane, Akola, Nanded, Nashik, Latur and Beed districts, and Nagpur, which have Muslim strongholds that could tilt the poll results either way.

BJP reaping the growing dissidence against Congress-NCP Govt

The Muslims are not happy with the ruling Congress-NCP alliance in the State. They are extremely disturbed by the policies of the Congress. There is growing feeling that the alliance did nothing expect unfulfilled promises. The BJP hopes that the growing sentiments against the Congress and its ally in the State could help connecting with the community in better ways.

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