BJP’s polarisation strategy not working in west UP
The political parties, NGOs, members of the different Civil Societies, and members of religious organisations have appealed to the people not to get swayed by the divisive politics
Addressing an election roadside meeting at Garh Mukhteshwar on Friday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reminded people about Sachin and Gaurav – two cousins who were killed when they protested against eve-teasing that led to Muzaffarnagar pogrom.
This was done in a subtle way to ignite communal hatred which can ultimately lead to communal polarisation in western Uttar Pradesh. Even the Union Home Minister Amit Shah raised the issue of palayan (exodus) when he started the election campaign in Kairana, in western Uttar Pradesh. He also held a meeting with 11 families, that allegedly left Kairana, during the previous regime.
The issue of exodus, which was raised by former BJP MP Hukum Singh in 2013, worked in favour of BJP as it led to polarisation of society among Hindus and Muslims in Meerut, Saharanpur, and Moradabad divisions. The BJP reaped political harvest too as it won 14 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections and registered victory on 51 out of 70 seats of the region in the 2017 Assembly elections.
In the last seven years, the BJP was able to send the message across that Jats and Muslims cannot sail together. “We are bound to do better in western UP. Initially, there was anger against BJP over farm laws but this has subsided now. Moreover, the Jats and Muslims are at loggerheads. They do not vote together and this time too the Jats will vote in favour of BJP,” said a senior BJP leader who was once in charge of western UP.
But the initial indications are that the strategy of polarisation may not work this time. The farmers’ movement has brought the farmers, irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion, together and has fostered harmony between the Hindus and the Muslims. One indication of this was the bye-election of Kairana following the death of Hukum Singh where Samajwadi Party’s Tabassum Begum contested the election on RLD’s ticket and won the election defeating Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka Singh.
The political parties, NGOs, members of the different Civil Societies, and members of religious organisations have appealed to the people not to get swayed by the divisive politics. “We know some leaders will play communal card but we are ready this time. The Jats and Muslims successfully organised anti-farm laws for 13 months and the same unity will find reflections in the assembly elections,” Maninder Chaudhry, a farmer leader said.
Maulana Zulfikar, state president of All-India Imams Association, said people had understood divisive politics. He said Muslims have been asked not to react to any allegations of the BJP leaders.
Rehana Adeeb who runs an NGO ‘Astitva’ in Muzaffarnagar that works for the welfare of women told reporters that Muslims have been told to be patient and not react. This is the key point, which has deprived the BJP of getting any issue to mobilise polarisation