The resignation of leaders of the minority community from the Delhi BJP over the elevation of Narendra Modi as the party’s poll panel chief has rattled its leadership and has the potential of hampering its prospects in the national capital, where assembly elections are due in November.
Experts say the development will hit the Delhi BJP’s attempts at wooing the minority voters to its fold.
Muslims constitute a considerable 15% of the voters in the Capital and barring eight assembly seats, they have the potential to swing the poll results. Of the 48 assembly seats in Delhi where Muslims and Dalits have 20% vote share, the ruling Congress won 34 while the BJP only 10 in the last elections.
Experts say that the main Opposition party will have to consolidate its vote share in these assembly segments if it has to seize power. But, with the Gujarat Chief Minister at the helm of their election campaign the party may find it hard to woo the minorities, they said.
Before resigning from the party post, Delhi BJP vice-president Husain told a television channel that he did not accept Modi as his leader.
Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel, a party veteran in the Capital, understands the importance of Muslim votes. He had organised a Muslim convention a few weeks ago but now it seems the party will have to intensify its efforts.
“Modi is not acceptable as Prime Minister to the people of my community. If he remains at the helm of the affairs I don’t think I will be able to convince my community to support BJP. I am confused,” said a Delhi BJP minority cell worker, requesting anonymity.
“I am working for the party since 2009 and want the BJP to come back to power. But I would rather want some other leader to become the Prime Minister,” said another party worker belonging to the minority community.
Delhi BJP minority cell president Aatif Rashid, however, claimed that educated Muslims are now looking up to the BJP to provide an alternative to the Congress. On reports that BJP workers were joining the Congress, Rashid said only a suspended party official had joined the Congress.
“No other worker has left the BJP,” Rashid said.
“There are about 3,000 Muslims working with the BJP’s minority cell and who believe in the leadership of Narendra Modi. If the parliamentary board of the party nominates Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate, he will be acceptable to all of us,” said Rashid.