With eye on 2024 polls, Delhi BJP plans Pasmanda Muslim outreach in capital today

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to the BJP to reach out to “deprived and downtrodden sections” in communities other than Hindus at a national executive conclave in Hyderabad last month, the BJP leadership in Delhi has started an outreach programme with a focus on Pasmanda (backward) Muslims in the national capital.

The BJP will be holding a Pasmanda Muslim Senh Milan Awam Samman Samroh on Friday at the Ghalib Institute in Central Delhi, during which several Pasmanda leaders from the party would be present.

Delhi BJP minority morcha in-charge and national president of the Rashtrawadi Muslim Pasmanda Mahaz Atif Rasheed, who is holding the programme, said that Pasmanda Muslims have always remained neglected when it comes to leadership roles and after the PM’s message, the party is making a start by reaching out to them.

“The programme will have a detailed discussion on the challenges for the community and the way ahead. The same model will be followed in other parts of the country,” said Rasheed, who is also former vice-chairperson of national commission of minorities.

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“They would also be talking about what has been done till now in states like Uttar Pradesh that led to a support base building for the party and what more can be done,” he added.

Danish Azad Ansari, a Pasmanda Muslim and the sole Muslim minister in the new Uttar Pradesh government headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, will also be present.

Among other leaders who will be present during the meet include MP and national president of OBC Morcha K Laxman; Ashfaq Saifi, Chairperson of Minorities Commission, Government of Uttar Pradesh; President Madrasa Education Council, (UP), Iftikhar Ahmed Javed; and Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta.

Party insiders said the direction came after the BJP’s victories in the Lok Sabha bypolls in Azamgarh and Rampur, where Muslims are an important part of the electorate. The party is also thought to have gained some Pasmanda votes in the 2022 Assembly elections, and Ansari was subsequently inducted into the second Adityanath government.

Party insiders said that in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP hopes to get the support of Pasmanda Muslims as it has noticed a support base in the UP Assembly elections.

“Prominent Muslim leaders either in the BJP or other parties, as well as MPs, were mostly from non-the Pasmanda community. The BJP wants to give them representation in leadership. In the coming days, one will see their prominence in leadership positions in the party,” said another BJP leader.

‘Pasmanda’, a Persian word, means the ‘ones left behind’, and is used to describe depressed classes among the Muslims, while underlining their deliberate or conscious exclusion. Pasmanda has become an umbrella identity used by backward, Dalit, and tribal Muslims to push back against caste-based discrimination against them within the community.

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