Celebrating the birth anniversary of former governor of Kerala and former Union minister, Sikandar Bakht, on Tuesday, the Gujarat BJP called for “maximum organisation of minorities” within the party in the state.
Responding to a question on the first such celebration, national general secretary of the BJP’s minority morcha, Joshua Peter De Souza, said, “It is to highlight that there is contribution of the minorities since the beginning (of the party). It is not that this (minority association with BJP) is a new trend. We want to show that there have been minorities on board with the party ever since the beginning.”
Describing Bakht as “one of the party’s tallest minority leaders”, De Souza, a Roman Catholic from Goa, called upon minority morcha workers to get as many people within the party as possible. He said, “I can say that Gujarat is BJP’s, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji’s home ground. And here, there should be maximum organisation of minorities (within BJP).”
Born on August 24, 1918, Sikandar Bakht was a freedom fighter who was with the Congress and eventually became a founding member of the BJP in 1980. Bakht also served as a minister in Atal Bihari Vajapayee’s government and as Kerala Governor before his death on February 23, 2004. He was also given the Padma Vibhushan.
Bakht’s interfaith marriage was talked about. In April this year, it was cited as an example of “social harmony prevailing in Indian society” by senior Gujarat Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, while opposing a Bill brought in by the Gujarat government to check “love jihad” in the Assembly.
The move comes in the wake of the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM winning seats in the local body polls in Modasa, Godhra and Bharuch municipalities and seven seats in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The AAP is also set to contest the upcoming Assembly elections after its performance in the local body polls.