Ashiq Hussain / New Delhi
As part of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party’s ongoing outreach to Muslims, the party is planning to launch 'Modi Mitra', (Friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi) a Muslim-exclusive contact campaign from April 20. The year-long outreach is slated to end next February.
This will be a key program of the BJP in the run-up to the next year’s general elections.
The party has identified 65 Muslim-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies that have more than 30 percent Muslim population.
BJP's Minority Morcha led by Jamal Siddiqui is in charge of this program that will be launched after Eid.
Jamal Siddiqui told Awaz-the Voice that 'Modi Mitra' (Friend of OM Narendra Modi) programme is scheduled to begin on April 20 and will continue till February 2024.
“For this, we have identified 65 Lok Sabha segments across the country where the Muslim population is more than 30 percent. Under this, our target is to contact those Muslims who do not belong to any political party and who have been impacted by the schemes launched by the Narendra Modi government.
He said, “We believe that there are at least 5,000-10,000 people in each of these Lok Sabha constituencies. We will talk to them and take their feedback on how government schemes have helped them and what more can be done for them to improve.”
The outreach programme will conclude with a dialogue between Muslims of these constituencies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The program will see members of the BJP Minority Morcha launching door-to-door campaigns, using social media, holding seminars at local levels, launching advertising campaigns, etc. During this, the party will showcase the welfare schemes of the Modi government targeted at the Muslim community.
Under the campaign, BJP plans to contact people from all walks of life be it professionals like doctors, engineers, social workers, journalists, professors, etc. The idea is to use influencers in the Muslim community to convey the message.
The BJP Minority Morcha chief said the influencers would be made “Modi Mitra” (Friend of PM Modi) so that he would convey the message about the BJP seeking to change the lives of Muslims through development and social welfare programmes.
He said that the 14 percent Muslim population is significant and cannot be left out of the party’s outreach and is very important politically. He says BJP has been trying to seek the support of Muslims ever since Narendra Modi came into power in 2014.
Politically, BJP knows that connecting with Muslims will make the road to the 2024 elections easier for it. Out of 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies across the country, 80 seats have a 20 percent Muslim population, and 65 seats have more than 30 percent.
ALSO READ: FIH Pro League Hockey: Real test will be the Asiad final: Zafar Iqbal
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 58 out of 80 seats with a vote share of more than 20 percent. It lost elections in 22 segments.
These 65 Muslim-majority Lok Sabha constituencies included 13 each in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, five from Jammu and Kashmir, four from Bihar, six each from Kerala and Assam, three from Madhya Pradesh, two each from Telangana and Haryana, and one seat each from Maharashtra and Lakshadweep.
Siddiqui said that the Rashtriya Muslim Manch associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) along with the BJP is already in dialogue and contact with the Muslims in these seats.