Yogi makes moves on UP political chessboard, with outreach to Muslim women
In the BJP’s electoral strategy for the states, the chief minister often shoulders the major responsibility of bringing back the party to power. Though elections in the state are still far away, Yogi Adityanath has already started making his moves on the political chessboard of the state to increase the party’s vote share of 49% in the 2019 general elections, which also defined the loyalties of major castes, specifically Yadavs and Jatavs, and the dent BJP could make in their vote banks.
Adityanath is trying to make inroads into the vote bank of about 20% Muslims in the state. Hitherto, they were considered to be an exclusive vote bank of the two regional forces, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Though its foundation was laid by the architects of the BJP’s manifesto that had promised to eliminate the age-old practice of instant Triple Talaq, the chief minister is going all out to win over Muslim women, who, despite opposition from clergies, have supported the move.
The effort is seen as an exercise to test the waters ahead of state bypolls on 12 seats.
All the four political parties in the state are contesting this round separately. Some of the constituencies fall in Muslim dominated areas like Rampur, Kanpur and Agra.
Adityanath recently convened a meeting with women who had suffered due to instant Triple Talaq and promised annual financial support of Rs 6,000 to them. This has been largely welcomed by the women, who no more doubt the intentions of the Bharatiya Janata Party government. And many may support the party in the assembly polls.
Ahead of the 2019 polls, Haji Salim Ansari of Shahawpur village in Barabanki had confessed, “At least one percent Muslim supported the BJP in the 2017 polls in the state, which had voted the BJP to power and moved firebrand Hindu leader Mahant Yogi Adityanath from the religious environments of Gorakhnath Math in Gorakhpur to plush Chief Minister’s bungalow in the state capital.”
Coming from the Haji, whose persuasive skills to settle all types of personal and property disputes in his area has earned him the sobriquet of ‘ samjhauta specialist’, that is a significant remark.
But why is the Congress opposing it? The day both the houses of Parliament had cleared the Triple Talaq bill, the Congress leaders had labelled it as a historic mistake.
Perhaps the Congress leadership was guided by a handful of clerics whose influence on their own community seems to be dwindling. Muslim women have not opposed the bill except for the clause that provides for the incarceration of the erring husbands.