Modi's Muslim ministers: How West Bengal is helping BJP change its politics

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How Bengal is changing BJP's politics
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, one of the two minority MPs of the BJP, the minister of state for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs in his Cabinet reshuffle effected on Sunday. The other Muslim face, Najma Neptullah, is already the Cabinet minister for Minority Affairs.

[Read: Bengal violence: Deep polarisation on party lines resurfaces]

Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal reshaping BJP's politics

Modi is certainly playing to a plan and according to experts, the states of Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal have played a vital role in shaping this strategy of the BJP leadership. In case of Jammu and Kashmir, certainly the assembly election starting on November 25 is a factor and the BJP is the closest than ever to be a part of the government in that state.

But how is West Bengal making a difference to the BJP's political thinking?

Recent violence in Birbhum has encouraged BJP's leadership

Bengal is set to go to the civic election in a few months and the assembly poll in 2016. The BJP has been targetting the Mamata Banerjee government in that state over issues of corruption, terror links with Bangladesh and infiltration from the neighbouring country. But if the simple slamming of the Banerjee government wasn't enough for the BJP, the recent violence in Birbhum has definitely given it a new weapon to corner Bengal's ruling regime.

The recent violence in Bengal will encourage Modi to invite more minority faces

What has happened in Bengal is a complete anti-thesis to what the saffron brigade had allegedly done in Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha election this year. It was said that the BJP deliberately ignored Muslim candidates and consolidated the entire Hindu bank by polarising the state in the wake of issues like Muzaffarnagar riots.

BJP is learning that in Bengal, communalism is second to party

In Bengal, the BJP is planning the reverse. The recent clashes between TMC and BJP in Makhra village in Birbhum district took place after several supporters of the ruling camp decided to join the BJP. What has encouraged the BJP is that people from the minority community too are joining it for they feel the ruling party's strongmen have made their lives difficult and hence they find the BJP an alternative.

This trend proves that in Bengal, communal polarisation comes second to party polarisation and the BJP's top leadership would thank Banerjee for helping it taste this reality. So far, the saffron camp never had the strength to take the game this far but now it is a different ball-game for all sides involved in the contest.

Birbhum Line is the new hope for the BJP and Modi won't mind minorities crowding the BJP. Bengal could give him the perfect opportunity to erase the Godhra memories and cement his image as that of an inclusive leader.

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