The BJP in Uttar Pradesh has started to reach out to backward Ansari community among Muslims by appointing them office-bearers in its newly formed cell for weavers in the state.
This comes after BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi asked his partys state unit leaders in August to focus on the pasmanda (backward) Muslims.
The party has appointed a Saharanpur-based leader M Azad Ansari as its weavers cells state convenor. Azad this week has appointed as many as five more persons from Ansari community who hail from Mirzapur,Gonda,Bijnor and Meerut as co-convenors of the cell.
Ansari community,one of the largest segments among backward Muslims in UP,has traditionally been involved in weaving works.
A large number of them are concentrated in Varanasi,Sant Ravidas Nagar and Sant Kabir Nagar districts in eastern UP and western UP where they work in factories making carpets and bangles. The largest population of Ansaris is in UP followed by Bihar and Jharkhand.
Last month,while addressing his rally in Patna,Modi iterated that poverty was the prime enemy of Muslims like Hindus and they need to fight it together.
M Azad,who joined the BJP in 2011,said he has prepared a list of weavers cells district convenors with over 70 per cent of them belonging to Ansari community.
He said this is the first time that a weavers cell has been constituted the BJPs in UP unit. The most important needs of backward Muslims like Ansaris is of livelihood. They want development like all others, he said.
A large number of Ansaris who are based in Surat vote for the BJP. We tell people that Muslims in Gujarat have witnessed better development than in any other state, said M Azad.
He said their primary focus was to ensure that there is no negativity amongst Muslims against the BJP.
Ansari is one of those Muslim communities which strongly opposed going to Pakistan after Partition and decided to stay in India. We tell them that you have seen the six years of Atal Bihari Vajpayees government and there is nothing to be afraid of the BJP, said Azad.