The Times of India
New Delhi, 16 October, 1995
15. BJP bid to woo Muslims
The Times of India News Service

ALIGARH, October 15 - The BJP today kicked off its pre-election campaign to woo Muslim voters by promising to provide a “riot-free India in which human rights of all sections would be protected”.

Addressing the first state convention of the newly-formed minority front of the BJP, former national president of the party Murli Manohar Joshi urged Muslims to take a “fresh look” at the BJP, if they wished to escape from the clutches of the Congress, which he alleged had been “exploiting them over the past several decades”.

The proceedings of the convention began with a recitation from the holy Quran. Mr. Joshi said the British had sown the seeds of a “minority complex” in the minds of the Muslims. Later the Congress had exploited this “complex” by whipping up a “fear psychosis” against the BJP, he alleged.

Mr. Joshi said the history of India was replete with instances which clearly indicated that Muslims had always been “an integral part of the national mainstream”. “They have now only to be made conscious of their genuine role in this mainstream,” he added.*

Mr. Joshi and other senior BJP leaders, including former chief minister Kalyan Singh, state BJP president Kalraj Mishra and party’s national secretary Arif Baig, stressed that the BJP was now offering a more liberal form of hindutva as its main election plank. They also claimed that the BJP’s economic policies would “protect the economic interests of the weaker sections of society including minorities”.

Mr. Baig, who is also the national president of the BJP’s minority front, announced that in the next few months similar conventions would be held all over the country.

Though well-attended, the percentage of various minority communities among the participants was “much below” the expectations of the organisers. A local Muslim leader felt: “By making such a move, the BJP may not be able to actually fetch Muslim votes, but it could certainly succeed in blunting the ‘anti-BJP’ image amongst Muslims.”


* Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi excels K.R. Malkani when it comes to inventing convenient history - convenient, that is, for catching Muslim votes. Unfortunately for him, however, Muslims happen to know their own history much better, and refuse to be hoodwinked by fools or crooks.

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