TO WOO Muslims with an eye on the Assembly polls next year, BSP leaders have been holding Iftar functions in almost every constituency in the state.
While BSP chief Mayawati herself has not held any Iftar functions, her leaders have been holding such functions across the state.
Two most prominent Muslim BSP leaders — national general secretary Nasimuddin Siddiqui and Rajya Sabha MP Munquad Ali — are taking part in Iftar functions almost every day since the month of Ramzan began. While Siddiqui has been taken part in Iftar functions held in most of the Muslim-dominated areas of western UP, Ali has been present at such functions in Varanasi, Mirzapur and Allahabad divisions.
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Siddiqui, regarded as BSP’s Muslim face, had organised a Iftar party in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar Extension on June 18. Most senior BSP leaders such as Satish Chandra Misra and Ram Achal Rajbhar, and several ulamas, including Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad, had attended the event.
When contacted, Munquad Ali said 3,000 to 4,000 people turn up for Iftar functions held in small towns in eastern UP. “They either come in the name of Iftar or out of love. We believe they are coming to us because they love us,” he said, citing his recent Iftar programmes at Jamania in Ghazipur district, which falls in Varanasi’s Sevapuri constituency.
A BSP coordinator from Bundelkhand said: “The party is holding Iftars in all Assembly segments. Some segments have seen more than one Iftar party being held by BSP leaders. Most programmes are planned and oragnised by prospective BSP candidates.”
A Muslim leader from Lucknow said the party hopes to get at least 80 per cent of the community’s votes in the 2017 polls. BSP has already announced over 80 Muslim candidates for the polls. The number is likely to go up once candidates for the remaining few seats are finalised.
Mayawati, meanwhile, continues to attack BJP and RSS over “communal polarisation”. To protray herself as the strongest opponent to such forces, she had supported Congress in Uttarakhand during the recent Assembly floor test and also in Madhya Pradesh during the Rajya Sabha elections.
She has also tried to create a Dalit-Muslim support base by claiming that the two communities are the most neglected and have been victimised by the Modi government. In a boost, during last month’s Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections, BSP candidates have received votes from four Muslim MLAs of Congress and SP.