Lok Sabha Elections 2019:‘RSS wants at least 7% Muslim votes for BJP’
Ali Daruwalla is no stranger to being a public voice for a national organisation. As national spokesperson of the All India Petroleum Dealers Association, he is now well-versed with handling bytes and bits, for all forms of popular media consumed in the country.
Pune born and bred and an ex-student of St Vincent’s High School, Daruwalla was recently appointed Maharashtra president of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), the wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) dedicated to bringing Muslims into the fold.
Daruwalla who has aspirations in politics spoke on his role at the Muslim Rashtriya Manch.
When asked what were the expectations of the RSS from the MRM in this Lok Sabha elections, Daruwalla replied: “Seven per cent. At least seven per cent of the Muslim vote, in Pune, in Maharashtra, in India, must go to the BJP.”
He said, “Never before has the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh directly got involved with a political campaign, but this time, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch state presidents - 14 of us - were called to Delhi and in a meeting with Indresh Kumar (senior RSS leader), were told of the importance and necessity of the Muslim vote going in favour of the BJP,” said Daruwalla.
At that meeting, held on March 22, at Harayana Bhavan in the capital, Kumar held court.
Responding to questions in a telephonic interview from Delhi on Wednesday, Kumar, who is chief patron of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch within the RSS, said, “We have 50 Muslim organisation across India with the RSS today.”
“The policy for the welfare of minority in India will be drafted and crafted here in MRM. MRM will be the policy makers in the present government for minority,” said Kumar.
Explaining his strategy to garner minimum 7% Muslim votes for the BJP, Daruwalla said, “It’s a two-fold grassroots approach. One in the real world, and one in virtual reality; final impact of course, in the real world.”
He said that 50 polling booths across Maharashtra, besides Mumbai, which are in Muslim-dominated areas have been identified. This covers cities like Solapur, Indapur and Ahmednagar. The Muslim Rashtriya Manch will now go in there and talk to Muslims, especially those from the weaker economic strata.
Daruwalla the fact that a well-off Muslim like him stands with the RSS, viewed by the common Muslim as a right-wing Hindu organisation, would be something to think about for the common Muslim.
When asked whether he supports ‘gau rakshaks’ and the violence that has befallen cow protection in central and north India, he said, Islam as a religion urges followers of the religion to “not undertake any activities that would, or could, antagonise your neighbours”. Thus, “Muslim Rashtriya Manch advises all Muslims to avoid cow slaughter, period.”
When pointed out that Samjhauta blast, Malegaon, and the Ram temple-Babri masjid issues hit the raw nerves of Muslims, even today, he said, “Not a single Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member has been convicted by a court of law in any of these cases.”
He said, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch’s position is: “We stand by the law. Punish the guilty. From the RSS, no one has been found guilty.”
It’s the same with the Ram temple. Let the courts decide, he said, explaining the MRM position.
The Muslim Rashtriya Manch plans to target the middle class and upper middle class Muslims. “We are going to harness social media to reach these Muslims,” he said, showing printed pointers from the RSS of key talking points to be pushed on social media.
“No riots in five years,” is going to be a key one for this demograph, Daruwalla added.
“The future of India is with Narendra Modi and the BJP. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a key part of making that future happen. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has now accepted that this future cannot be possible without the Muslims, and so, the Rashtriya Muslim Manch,” he said.
Firm in his commitment to the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said, “We are driven by what is best for India, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has told all Bharatiya Janata Party candidates to take the Muslim Rashtriya Manch into confidence while planning the election campaign.
“In certain areas Muslim Rashtriya Manch will even address rallies for the Bharatiya Janata Party.”