The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contemplating to derive political mileage out of the recent communal flare-up in Muzaffarnagar district by inviting its campaign head Narendra Modi to address a rally in the riot-hit district.
Though four of its legislators, including Hukum Singh, the party leader in the UP assembly, were booked for instigating the violence, the party strategists seem unfazed. The party believes it benefited from the last month’s police clampdown on the banned chaurasi kos padyatra aimed at reviving the Ram Temple issue.
The BJP legislator from Sardhana constituency of Meerut, Sangeet Som — booked and on the run for allegedly circulating a fake video that the UP police claims fuelled Muzaffarnagar’s communal flare up — told HT on phone that after securing bail, he would discuss with party leaders the possibility of inviting Modi to a rally in the district, where the party fared badly in 2012 polls.
To translate any religious polarisation that might have occurred in the clashes into political gains, the BJP would also get its youngest general secretary Varun Gandhi to address a Swabhiman rally in Agra along with party patriarch LK Advani on September 15.
Modi’s key aide Amit Shah, now tasked with UP affairs, who was in Meerut recently, has told the party cadres to take on the state government and assured them the BJP would extend legal cover to Hindutva forces against the state government’s clampdown.
The usually sober Hukum Singh also appears to be in a combative mood after the government slapped a case against him in connection with Muzaffarnagar’s communal flare up.
“It’s nothing unusual for this government to go after us because we are in the BJP. But I dare this government to prove its charge against me. I am not going anywhere. Let this government arrest me,” he told HT.
Hukum Singh — a seven-time MLA from Kairana constituency in Shamli district that was created in 2011 by the BSP government — is expected to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from one of the three Lok Sabha constituencies in or around Muzaffarnagar.
Suresh Rana, BJP MLA from Thana Bhawan constituency of Muzaffarnagar comes up with an interesting take against the UP government. He says: “Even without indulging in the kind of appeasement that this government has become infamous for, I have been able to secure the support of nearly 32 per cent Muslims in my constituency. Why is it that communal flare up has been reported only from regions represented by non-BJP leaders?”
The BJP is clearly going to play up the 'Hindu pride' factor. However, it would continue to pay lip service to the minorities as well. The party’s most visible Muslim face and Rajya Sabha MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is preparing a vision document for minorities to sell the idea that “if Muslims in Modi's Gujarat are doing well, they can continue to do so nationally if BJP comes to power at the Centre”.