In an apparent attempt to spread its base among the Muslims ahead of the Assembly elections, the minority morcha of Gujarat BJP will organise a Muslim convention at Vadad village in Kheda district — a Congress bastion — on May 20. It also claims that around 2,500 Muslims, mostly from Congress, will join the ruling party during the convention.
“At least 5,000 Muslims will take part in this convention, and out of this 2,500 are expected to join BJP, most of whom are coming from Congress,” said Sufi Maheboob Ali Chishti, president of the state BJP Minority Morcha, on Thursday.
“All the participants are from Kheda district only… people from other districts have not been involved,” he added.
Chishti said a prominent former Congress leader of Kheda district, Saiyed Sakhi Bava, who had joined BJP in the run-up to the 2014 last Lok Sabha elections, was instrumental in bringing the Muslims from Congress to the saffron party and convincing them of its “Vikas Model”.
Bava said, “We want a secure future for our children and want to join the mainstream through ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’, which BJP has guaranteed to us.” According to Bava, prominent BJP leaders, including senior ministers Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and Atmaram Parmar, MP Devusinh Chauhan and MLA Pankaj Desai, would be attending the convention.
Reacting to the BJP event, Gulabkhan Raima, president of the minorities department in Gujarat Congress, said that not a single event for the rights of the Muslims was held by BJP’s minority morcha in the past several years.
“Let BJP try whatever trick or gimmick it wants to do… the event will not have any impact on Congress,” Raima said.
Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “This is nothing more than a gimmick, which BJP tries during election time.”