In the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections held earlier this year, the Bhartiya Janata Party fielded as many as 403 candidates but only 1 ticket was given to a Muslim candidate. Yesterday, the saffron outfit came out with its list of candidates for the 182 member Gujarat Assembly and unfortunately not even a single Muslim made it to the final list. On both the occasions the BJP came out with the explanation that it does not believe in appeasement.
It’s commendable if a party discards votebank politics and embraces meritocracy while allotting tickets and electioneering but this policy of no appeasement (if it is indeed appeasement) should apply to all and not merely to a particular section of people. In the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, BJP brought firebrand leader Uma Bharti belonging to a backward community to lead it’s campaign in the state in order to woo the OBC’s, in Punjab BJP allied with the Akalis, a party with religious inkling and in Goa which happens to be a minority bastion, more than 20% of the candidates fielded by the BJP were Christians. In the past also, BJP has acted in an opportunistic and sectarian manner to fetch votes. During the 90’s they allied with the BSP and raised the slogan, ‘Hathi nahi, Hanuman Hai’ to consolidate Dalit and Brahmin votes. History as well as the continuing trend makes it clear that the BJP’s ‘no appeasement’ politics only applies to the Muslims. It would rather be apt to say that for the BJP, the Muslims are untouchables because it was opposition to the Muslims which brought their party to national prominence and they are least interested in shedding their image of being an anti-Muslim party because it is this fearless figure of the BJP which helps them in polarizing elections.
This is one fact which will remain true no matter how many times Mr Modi embarks on a Sadbhavna Mission or LK Advani’s reiterates his party’s commitment to secularism by condemning movies like ‘Innocence of Muslims’ because these things are nothing apart from plain lip service. I want to ask the BJP one very simple question. If they could find only a single Muslim candidate in UP (Where over 4 crore Muslims live) and not even a single in Gujarat (Where Muslims, as per the Sachar Committee Report, are better in terms of education and economic well being than the national average, this fact in itself might appear unbelievable to many) where in India will they find Muslims whom they can consider fit to be given a party ticket ? BJP’s actions and its ticket distributing patterns puncture its claims of the inclusiveness of its ideology of Hindutva. This subject needs to be evaluated very objectively and that can only happen when people get over their perverse thinking which makes them feel that if a particular person is speaking against some injustice being done to his community then he or she is indulging in communalism.