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Jewar Muslims doubt ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas’ motto of BJP

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 20-03-2017

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Since Saturday evening, with Hindutva firebrand Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, an eerie silence has replaced the sense of jubilation among a section of Muslims in Jewar.

Muslim voters of Jewar said that Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh has come as a shock. They said they had voted for Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Thakur Dhirendra Singh but did not expect Adityanath to be named the next CM.

Thakur Dhirendra Singh won Jewar constituency by a margin of 25,000 votes. Many said that a sizeable Muslim population of Jewar had voted for BJP owing to Singh’s popularity among all sections of the society. There are roughly 38,000 Muslim voters in the Jewar constituency, compared to 42,000 of Jatav community and 47,000 of the Gujjar community.

Full Coverage: UP Elections 2017 | Other states

Villages of Jewar such as Usmanpur, Achheja, Atta, Deri, Kadalpur, Kharli, Anwargarh, Mehendipur, Sujadpur, Daula, Mandpa and Bilaspur are Muslim dominated areas.

In Atai Muradpur village, Singh received 214 votes compared to 155 votes for BSP’s Ved Ram Bhati. In Azampur village, Singh received 424 votes compared to 235 votes to Bhati.

“We never supported BJP or their brand of politics. Our faith was in Thakur sahib since he promised inclusive development and opportunities for people of Jewar. However, the appointment of Yogi is a rude shock,” said Mohammad Yamin, a fruit seller in Jewar.

Muslims supporters of BSP also showed their displeasure with the choice. They said that over appeasement of Muslims across UP led to the division of votes.

“Every other party was out to impress Muslims. Maulanas were busy giving sermons to vote for specific parties. In such a scenario, BJP candidates managed a victory, even by a small margin,” said Fahman, another fruit seller.

The euphoria of Singh’s win was replaced by denial and doubt as the BJP chose Hindutva firebrand Adityanath as the chief minister. Adityanath is infamous for his alleged hate speeches against Muslims and for his campaign to build Ram temple at the controversial site in Ayodhya.

The decision has left many in doubt over the party’s slogan of ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas’ as the CM has time and again vouched for Hindu supremacy.

Haji Naseeb Qureshi, BJP’s secular face in Jewar, doesn’t hold any position in the party. Yet, a month ago, he was invited to share the dais with top BJP leaders such as Union home minister Rajnath Singh and Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma during a campaign rally in Rabupura.

Not just Qureshi, around 60 Muslims were asked to sit in the front row of the Rabupura rally. Their candidate Dhirendra Singh’s popularity among Muslims was the reason behind BJP star campaigners switching to the secularism card from hard-line Hindutva.

Qureshi said that the new Jewar MLA can change the fortunes of his constituency. “We have all voted for development and public welfare and I am sure that even Yogiji believes in sabka sath, sabka vikaas. His Hindutva statements against Muslims is just petty party politics,” said Qureshi.

Qureshi, however, said that demolishing the mosque or ‘martyrdom of mosque’ was a mistake on the BJP’s part. “When the mosque had attained martyrdom, it had cost BJP. They shouldn’t repeat the same mistake,” he said.

Also watch: Yogi Adityanath takes charge of Uttar Pradesh

Mohammad Ashraf, Qureshi’s brother, said that the BJP will not build the Ram temple even after ruling in Centre and state. “Then, they won’t have any issues left to fight,” he said.

BJP supporters from the Muslim community were also not pleased with the choice of chief minister.

“Every other political party in the state has claimed their ancestral right over Muslims just to get votes. We have not received anything for the last three decades except fake promises. We were fed up with appeasement politics to the extent that we voted for BJP. But Adityanath’s appointment is a surprise,” Kadeer of Chauthaiya Patti mohalla in Jewar, said.

“Muslims proved to be truly secular as they voted for all the parties, including BJP, whereas the caste polarisation of Hindus did not take place as they voted in unison for Yogi,” Mushtaq of Jewar said.

Ayub Qureshi of Jewar credited the BJP’s victory to the ‘wave’ that was built across the state.

“Even if BJP had declared Yogi as CM candidate, they would have still won the elections. Such was the wave across the state. However, it doesn’t matter who rules UP, as we have not witnessed any change in successive governments,” Ayub said.

Indian Muslims talk as they wait to cast their votes at Muradnagar, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. Uttar Pradesh and four other Indian states are having state legislature elections in February-March, a key mid-term test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government which has been ruling India since 2014. © Manish Swarup/AP Photo Indian Muslims talk as they wait to cast their votes at Muradnagar, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. Uttar Pradesh and four other Indian states are having state legislature elections in February-March, a key mid-term test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government which has been ruling India since 2014.

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