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Mumbai Muslims welcome BJP govt in Maharashtra, calls for dialogue
Wrong for the Muslims to treat BJP as untouchable or for the BJP to treat Muslims as untouchable, they say
Tuesday October 21, 2014 11:24 AM, Staff Reporter

After the thumping victory of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Maharashtra state elections, an influential group of Muslims in the state capital Mumbai Tuesday appealed the community to welcome the new government and open a dialogue to resolve its issues.

Mumbai Muslims on BJP

"It is wrong for the Muslims to treat BJP as untouchable or for the BJP to treat Muslims as untouchable. We welcome the new government that will be formed in Maharashtra and also the one led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi", said Feroze Mithiborewal, one of the key members of the group.

Feroze was talking to in response to the appeal published by the group in Mumbai's leading Urdu dailies. The appeal also has the names of Ghulam Pesh Imam, Shabbir Ansari, Dr. Azeemuddin, Salim Alware, Anees Ashrafi, MA Khalid, Dilawar Chougle and others, who were all staunch opponent of the BJP – a right wing Hindu conservative party, at one point.

"The Muslims and people from other backward classes have exploited by the Congress and other secular parties for long. They always used Muslims as sacrificial lamb.

"It is the Congress which is responsible for sending to jails hundred of Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism.

"The Congress has never been serious in addressing the key demands of the Muslims in Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country. To give an example, we fought with Chief Minister Chavan demanding Ismail Yusuf Land encroached over by the government, and a land to establish AMU off campus centre in Maharashtra. He did nothing.

"Worse, he played dirty politics on these demands and tried to divide the community.
"Against this backdrop, it is high time for us to have a dialogue with the BJP government both in states and New Delhi, and give it a chance to resolve ours issues", he said.

He said that NCP's offering support to the BJP is clear example to show that these parties are using secularism as a tool to win elections.

"When such is the case why Muslims should not have a dialogue with the BJP?" he asked.

He also said that after coming to power in New Delhi, the BJP has toned down its anti-Muslim stance, and is willing to deal with the Muslims.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement about Muslims before he left on US tour was a welcome change. Besides, if we ignore the likes of Subramaniam Swamy, Adityantah and Sakshi Maharaj, the rest of the BJP leadership is talking on secular lines", he said.

He also said that the anti-Muslim rhetoric by some BJP leaders is due to lower and upper caste infighting in the BJP itself.

"There is a strong group of upper caste BJP leaders who are trying to assert itself against Narendra Modi, who is an OBC. It is the same group which is creating problems in Gujarat after elevation of Modi as prime minister", he said.

He also said that the entire campaign in Maharashtra, for the first time, was free from anti-Muslim speeches and statements.

"What's more realising that the BJP is trying to reach out to Muslims, Shiv Sena and MNS also appealed Muslims for their support and also fielded Muslims as party candidates", he said.

He also blamed failure of the secular parties for the rise of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Maharashtra.

Interestingly this group is not alone which is trying to patch-up with the BJP - the party always treated as anti-Muslim. In the run up to the Maharashtra polls, Haider Azmi, Pasha Patel, Abdus Salam Qasmi and some other Muslims campaigned extensively for the BJP.

Election results also show that the Muslims have voted for the BJP and Shiv Sena candidates in many constituencies. While the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 123 MLAs, Shiv Sena came second with 63 MLAs.


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