The Minority Morcha of Bengal BJP has set a target of inducting 20 lakh members from a minority community into the party by December. The move comes after it received a positive response from minorities during the lockdown and months after the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (anti-CAA) protests across Bengal.
According to state BJP Minority Morcha president Ali Hossain, a large number of educated and intellectual persons from the minority community have joined the party recently.
“People were misled by Opposition parties regarding CAA. It had nothing to do with the Muslims and they were not affected by it at all. During lockdown, people belonging to minority community began to understand this. They realised that the BJP-led Centre is not against them. So, we got a huge response from the minority community. Moreover, educated Muslims have joined our party in large numbers. We have set a target of achieving 20 lakh members from minority communities by December,” Hossain told The Sunday Express.
For the 20 lakh-membership target, the BJP is eyeing 10 lakh enthusiasts from 125 minority-dominated Assembly constituencies, while the other 10 lakh from the remaining 169 Assembly segments. At present, the party has around 5 lakh members from minority community. Since August 26, the party has inducted 14,000 Muslims into its camp.
Uluberia in Howrah district, Barasat in North 24 Parganas district and Burdwan Town in East Midnapore district are the top three places from where the party received a massive response from the Muslims.
“Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Malda and Murshidabad are the other four districts where we have made inroads and gained the trust of Muslims. People have finally understood their mistake of protesting against the CAA. Our party has also made it clear that there will be no National Register of Citizens in Bengal. So, the future of all people is secured here,” said Hossain.
Sources in the party said the BJP’s outreach programme among minorities will brighten its chances of putting up a better electoral performance, especially in minority-dominated areas, in 2021 state Assembly polls.
“Bengal has around 28 per cent minority population. We cannot ignore this and rely only on majority vote bank. We have to perform well in places where minorities are in large numbers. A division in minority vote bank will eventually weaken the ruling TMC, which depends on them,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.
In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the TMC had a lead in 93 out of the 125 minority-dominated Assembly segments, while the BJP in 23 and Congress in nine seats. However, out of 93, the margin of votes between the TMC and the BJP was less than 40,000 in about 70 seats. In 2019, the TMC got 43.3 per cent vote share. The BJP, meanwhile, bagged 40.3 per cent vote share. According to BJP, the 3% gap is what the party has to bridge in order to turn the tides against the TMC and this is where the minority votes become significant.
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