The BJP may be dead opposed to quotas for Muslims and hotly debate when Narendra Modi will shift to the national stage.
But the party intends to come up with a new mantra of “good governance” to reach out to the minorities — ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Anxious to shed the “anti-Muslim” tag, senior BJP leaders are finalising plans to impress upon these communities that their welfare and development can best be served by good governance, which BJP-ruled states should show by example.
In first-of-its-kind workshop, which was addressed by top leaders on Friday, the BJP discussed minority-related issues with members and chairpersons of the minority-related government organisations from nine BJP ruled states — Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar.
The day-long “Workshop on Minority Welfare through Good Governance” was inaugurated by BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who asked them to deliver good governance and win the hearts.
The focus of this workshop, BJP leaders said, was on three specific themes: leveraging welfare bodies for minority development, introducing good governance initiatives for better delivery mechanism and better coordination in BJP organisation and government bodies.
Organised by BJP's good governance cell co-convener Jagdish Mukhi, minority morcha president Tanvir Ahmed, several leaders including former morcha president Tanvir Haider Usmani, and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe addressed the delegates.
They said special efforts must be made to convince Muslims and other minorities that the BJP was keen on their welfare.
The BJP's first initiative to reach Muslims was made when the Vajpayee government was in power. Even in Gujarat, Modi, who is accused of failing to contain anti minority riots in 2002, has lately been trying to cultivate the minority community.
(With inputs from Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Bhopal)