The BJP’s top minority leadership descended in Gujarat to begin campaigning among the Muslim community, which will also include meeting with 2002 riots victims.
As L K Advani filed his nomination for Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat on Saturday, a day after a Cobrapost.com sting alleged that the demolition of Babri Masjid after Advani’s Rath Yatra was well planned, BJP Minority Morcha vice-president Irfan Ahmed and general secretary G Aslam accompanied his entourage to be part of the Gujarat campaign.
Ahmed belongs to UP and Aslam is from Bangalore. Denying that their visit had anything to do with damage control due to the Cobrapost sting, Ahmed said, “We will cover all the Muslim dominated areas in Gujarat and also meet riot victims.”
He was with Advani in the workers’ meet and also at the time of filing nomination.
“We have been campaigning across India,” he said. With the help of Gujarat Minority Morcha, which has tried to expand its base in last one year, the top BJP Muslim leaders are planning a door-to-door campaign. But there will be no public meeting by the Morcha in Gujarat, which has 9 per cent Muslim population.
“We will be moving door-to-door in constituencies like Ahmedabad East, Junagadh, Jammagar, Kutch, Vadodara among others,” said Ahmed, adding, “We will talk to victims from Naroda Patiya, Gulberg Society and other affected areas as we will begin campaigning very soon in Gujarat.” Those are the areas which saw worse massacres by mobs in February and March of 2002 followed by Sabarmarti Express carnage at Godhara where 59 people were charred to death.
While Gujarat BJP leadership, including BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, is yet to visit the affected areas and have a dialogue with the victims, the party has focused to increase its minority base in the recent past in Gujarat, beginning with Sadbhavna Mission in 2011 by Modi.
The local unit of the Morcha has set a target to add 1 lakh new workers. However, it has not been achieved so far. The Minority Morcha leaders said that riots was not an issue for them. “Riot is kind of issue that Congress keeps alive,” said Ahmed. When asked about why there was no Muslim candidate from Gujarat in the LS polls, Ahmed said, “We have so many from UP.”