Brazen Anti-Muslim rhetoric by Modi belies his sab ka sath, sab ka vikas claims, and recalls his rabid Gujarat past

Narendra Modi

Several Hindu communities, not to speak of Muslims, came out against the then BJP government’s  decision (of March 24, 2023) to remove the 4% quota to Muslims, and allocate it to Hindu communities. Ultimately the Basavaraj Bommai govt was defeated, and this was one factor at work. But the BJP stuck to its anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Congress had reduced  Muslims into second-rate citizens. But the tragedy is BJP is not content with that; they call it as appeasement! They want them reduced into third-rate citizens, and Modi renewed their project.

This article seeks to expose the duplicity and double-tongued policy of  Modi-led BJP in relation to Muslims.  

In Gujarat, Modi explained in an interview to ANI on Feb9, 2022, “ there are 70 castes in Muslims which are categorized as OBC. In my Gujarat, they get benefits in OBC.” That was ahead of Assembly polls in UP. In MP too, BJP governments earlier had implemented reservations to Muslim OBCs.

But now Modi repeatedly asserted that he “would not permit reservation based on religion for Muslims as long as he is alive”, even while affirming his commitment to uphold the rights of SC, ST, and OBCs. He was speaking at an election rally in Medak district, Telangana  (PTI April 30,2024). In Bagalkot, Karnataka, Modi claimed a shop-keeper was attacked for listening to Hanuman chalisa ( a hymn worshipping Hanuman) inside his shop! Home Minister Amit shah, and other leaders of BJP asserted that they would certainly end the reservations to Muslims.

“Modi’s earlier statements in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were also  clearly communal in nature, aggressively pitting Hindus against Muslims.  Modi said the Congress’ manifesto aims to “dismember” the country as it “bears the imprint of the Muslim League” and reflects the ideas propagated by the League at the time of independence. Modi has played two cards — he said the Congress will redistribute wealth and that the redistributed wealth will go to Muslims,” said a report. 

At the outset it must be stated that reservations are no panacea, either to SCs STs OBCs or others. Often they are used to divide and divert people from larger and real issues, and to pit one community against another. That is what Modi-led BJP is doing now, in a desperate move to achieve a hat-trick as PM.

Millions of educated youth of these communities have been jobless for years, despite the  reservations.

The LPG policy of privatization, heralded in early 1990s by PV Narasimha Rao, glorified by BJP in recent past with a post-humous Bharat Ratna to him, almost nullified the limited advantage. Reservations are not applicable in private sector. And also in the largely out-sourced jobs in government sector and PSUs: One top BMS leader said they number around one crore. Very few Muslims benefited.    


Modi’s scary and false assertions, in election rallies across India, that Congress, “favored by Pakistan and Muslims”, would re-distribute wealth, even mangala sutras of women, to those ‘who have large number of children and to infiltrators’ (hinting at Muslims) are of the same category.

Young generation may be too busy (with cricket, cinema, mobile-digital  games, apart from jobs if they have ), and misguided by godi (lap-dog) media, to know related facts.

But people remember, and google helps, it was expansionist Congress led by Indira Gandhi that dismembered Pakistan (creating Bangladesh), killed tens of thousands of Muslim citizens and suppressed Kashmir.

Congress party used Muslims as vote banks, as Modi rightly pointed out. Sachar Committee showed that the plight of Muslims, decades after independence, has been worse than that of SCs.

Congress had reduced  Muslims into second-rate citizens. But the tragedy is BJP is not content with that; they call it as appeasement! They want them reduced into third-rate citizens, and they began their project.

People also know that it was Congress party regimes, while mouthing socialism, that cultivated Big Business Houses like Birlas, Tatas, and Ambanis, more brazenly since the liberalization of 1990s, advanced by Manmohan singh as PM. Congress was the A-Team of the ruling classes, for decades, and now fighting to stage a come-back to  that place, which was grabbed by Modi-led BJP in recent past.

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Bluffing about the Constitution and the Courts

Modi asserted that he “would not permit reservation based on religion for Muslims as long as he is alive.”  He claimed it is unconstitutional, and was rejected by the top Courts. And he sought to pit Hindu SC and OBC communities against Muslims. 

Why such anti-Muslim rhetoric, why such lies and half-truths? The reason is simple, because the NDA apparently didn’t perform as well as expected in the first phase. And Modi resorts to rabid anti-Muslim communalism, dumping his own slogans of sab ka sath, sab ka vikas (welfare of all).

It’s part of a double-tongued policy with an eye vote-banks, as we shall see later in this article.

Congress CM of Telangana, Revant Reddy, launched a tirade against Modi-led BJP, alleging in his election rallies, that BJP is out to abolish reservations to SCs STs OBCs, not to speak of Muslims. A video clip of Amit Shah speaking in a rally was circulated in social media, as evidence.

The acrimony on reservations occupied key space in electioneering and led to mutual complaints and police intervention. 

It was a video clip morphed and manipulated, BJP alleged, and Delhi police came all the way to Hyderabad and attempted to arrest Congress office-bearers from their office, for circulating a fake video. The CM Reddy himself was summoned by Delhi police to appear in 48 hours before its office, for his alleged role in the circulation of a fake video against the Union Home Minister.  

BJP leaders demanded the Election Commission (EC) that Telangana CM must be stopped from electioneering as a punishment. Already the  pliant EC punished former CM KCR by preventing for 48 hours, for his characteristic offensive language in his election speeches.   

Telangana govt retaliated, and a case was filed against Amit Shah and other BJP leaders, including BJP’s Hyderabad candidate (pitted against MP, Asaduddin Owaisi, of MIM) for violating the election code. 

All this resulted as Modi indulged in aggressive campaign with an anti-Muslim rhetoric.       

Modi referred to Karnataka’s 2023 March decision, under BJP’s Basavaraj Bommai government, to remove 4 % quota for Muslims in education and jobs, and allocate the same, equally to predominant Lingayat and vokkaliga communities. Bommai latest reiterated the policy, that was kept pending by judicial intervention.

Modi and Amit Shah also cited undivided AP’s allocation (during YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s Congress regime) of a similar quota to Muslims, negatived by the AP High Court.

Modi and his followers bluffed that the top Courts rejected the reservation to Muslims and that such reservation based on religion is unconstitutional.

The anti-Muslim rhetoric was upped by BJP believing it would help boost their tally in South, meant to counter anticipated setbacks in the North. 

Advisor to the Telangana state (TS) government, former Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Mar 13, 2024, said the 4% Muslim reservation case is pending in the Supreme Court, and a Constitutional Bench of the apex court will hear it. “Until the Supreme Court gives its final verdict, neither Union Home Minister Amit Shah nor any other BJP leader can scrap the 4% Muslim reservation in the two Telugu states,” asserted Shabbir Ali.

He made it clear that the 4% Muslim quota was not given based on religion but on socio-economic backwardness, and not the entire community but only 14 identified groups were getting the benefit due to their backwardness, established by a BC Commission’s report.

“Also, the 4% Muslim quota was within the prescribed 50% ceiling cap by the Supreme Court as per the Indra Sawhney Judgment. Most importantly, the Muslim quota was given separately without reducing the reservation percentage of other communities,” he said. (Times of India, Hyderabad, Mar 13, 2024.)  

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The Karnataka order and Amit Shah were both chided by the  Supreme Court

All those who are bluffing should note the following:

In April 2023, the Supreme Court while hearing petitions challenging the  Karnataka move said that the government’s decision was “prima facie shaky and flawed.” The Bommai government assured the Court that no fresh appointments or admissions would be made in terms of the contentious government order while the case was underway.

The petitioners in Karnataka case complained about a recent statement made by Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue ahead of the May 10 Karnataka elections. Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioners, said Mr Shah was “proudly saying” that his party has withdrawn the quota to Muslims.

The Supreme Court on May 09, 2023 took serious exception to political statements being made ( by Amit shah) on the ongoing case ..’More sanctity needs to be maintained when there is a court order’, the top court said.

“Why, when the matter is sub judice, should such statements be made by anyone?” Justice BV Nagarathna asked.

“If someone says they are principally against religion-based reservation, it is completely justified,” Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, argued, after which the court said it just wants discipline to be maintained.

“You saying that four per cent reservation is unconstitutional, from this podium as SG and counsel appearing in this case…You can make this statement. But someone else from a public place making a statement…is completely different,” Justice BV Nagarathna told Tushar Mehta.

The bench directed that the interim orders passed in the last hearing would continue till further orders. That meant the Bommai order was kept in abeyance…that is so till now. (NDTV, May 9, 2023).

But Modi, Shah and other BJP leaders  are openly misleading the people, with false assertions, including on Court orders. The pliant EC is not curbing them for all their violations, and false statements against rival parties: The Congress is branded as a party that emulated Muslim League, Pakistan and urban naxals. 

( for more on this, see:

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/karnataka-muslim-quota-supreme-court-takes-exception-to-political-remarks-4017782

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It’s a decades-old policy, implemented also by three BJP CMs  

CM Siddaramaiah said: “It gives the impression that the Congress government of Karnataka has given a new reservation to Muslims. This is a blatant lie. The fact remains that the BC reservation of Muslims has been in existence since March 3, 1977, and it has withstood legal scrutiny.”

Devaraj Urs government had introduced it, based on Havanur Commission recommendations.

Karnataka has a historical distinction:

Creation of the “2B” category for Muslims, was the continuation of a process that began in 1918 during the rule of the then Mysore princely state. Muslims were in fact identified through scientific inquiries by multiple state commissions as being “socially backward”. 

In fact, BJP’s ally JDS has been for Muslim reservations. So it is with TDP in AP, now an NDA ally of BJP. The NDA has no CMP that unites them on these questions:

“ The quota for Muslims in government jobs and education is historically perceived to have been introduced by H.D. Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal in 1995 when he was the Chief Minister. A distinct classification — 2B was made within the OBC quota for Muslims.”

“ In Andhra Pradesh, where Muslims constitute 9.5% of the population, certain sects such as the Dudekula, Laddaf, Noorbash, and Mehtar have OBC quotas ranging from 7% to 10%. This reservation is being implemented under a separate category of OBCs known as BC-E, without cutting into the existing OBC quota…”

The judges have their own biases, ideological and political. The Supreme Court’s Hindutva judgments (1994 amd 1996) are a watershed in the Indian polity. The 1996 one, in particular, allowed Hindutva being ‘used’ in election speeches.    

The AP High Court, with the above mind-set, struck down the AP orders, true, but that was more on technical grounds:

“ On September 21, 2004, a five-judge Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down the quota ..underscoring that the reservation was implemented without consulting the State’s Backward Classes Commission as statutorily mandated. It also pointed out that the quota did not exclude the “creamy layer,” and permitted reservations to Muslims as a whole contrary to the Supreme Court’s directives.

Accordingly, the Court directed the State government “to reconstitute the Commission for Backward Classes, and on such reconstitution of the Commission for Backward Classes, the Government shall initiate the process of consultation and forward the necessary material, including the G.O. Ms. No.33, to the Commission for Backward Classes.”

The High Court rulings were subsequently challenged before the Supreme Court. On January 4, 2006, an interim stay on the High Court’s verdict was granted after which it was referred to a Constitution Bench. The Bench is yet to hear the case though 18 years rolled by.

Modi-led BJP is distorting facts, and says the reservations are unconstitutional and against Court verdicts. Both are false contentions unbecoming a PM and a Home Minster.

( see for more on the subject:  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/understanding-how-muslims-get-reservations-in-india/article68104933.ece)

 Constitution allows the reservations

The Indian Constitution was amended more than hundred (106) times till now. It can be amended again. Thus Modi-led BJP’s argument is untenable.

Several Muslim communities are entitled to the OBC reservation at the central and State levels. This stems from Article 16(4) of the Constitution, which guarantees reservations for a “backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.”

The third Backward Class Commission headed by Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy in its report categorised Muslims as “educationally and socially backward” and further concluded that the economic plight of Muslims is close to that of the SCs in many educational parameters. Accordingly, it recommended exclusive educational reservation for Muslims under Article 15 (4) of the Constitution. In 2006, the Justice Sachar Committee report arrived at similar conclusions.

(see The Hindu, April 26, 2024. The article decodes the intricacies of Muslim reservations in India” )

The reservations were not given based on religion, nor given arbitrarily: Muslims were included in the OBC list based on a study of their socio-economic conditions and recommendations by the G. Havanur (1975, Karnataka) and Justice Chinnappa Reddy Commissions (1990). This has been further confirmed by the Justice Sachar Committee Report (2006).

In 2011, two years into its second term in power, the Minority Affairs Ministry of the UPA government proposed an 8.4% sub-quota within the OBC quota, including 6% for Muslims, based on the Justice Ranganath Misra panel report. This was later cut to 4.5% for minorities based on the Mandal Commission formula.

The Ranganath Misra panel (2004) recommended a 10% quota for Muslims and 5% for other minorities in government jobs and non-minority educational institutions. As an alternative route, it suggested carving out a sub-quota within the OBC quota.The UPA had preferred the second option.

“ 14 Muslim groups identified as backward were given 4% quota in united Andhra in 2004; UPA govt’s 4.5% sub-quota within OBC pool was quashed by court in 2012, but Cong’s 2014 manifesto talked of a similar move.”

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had won 21 seats in UP, and the party hoped to ride on the sub-quota plank to woo the Muslim community. Modi is aware and afraid of that.

Addressing an election rally in Tonk, Modi therefore distorted the Congress policy, and said that as soon as the Congress formed the government at the Centre in 2004, one of its first tasks was “reducing the SC/ST reservation in Andhra Pradesh” and giving it to Muslims (PTI). In fact it is a lie. A notice was sent by Delhi police to Telangana CM for distortion of Amit Shah’s speech.  Who should prosecute the PM for such lies?

“This was a pilot project which the Congress wanted to try in the entire country. Between 2004 and 2010, the Congress tried to implement Muslim reservation in Andhra Pradesh four times but due to legal hurdles and the awareness of the Supreme Court, it could not fulfill its intention… In 2011, the Congress tried to implement it throughout the country,” Modi said. (indianexpress.com, April 24, 2024)

Modi hides the fact that the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is yet to pronounce its verdict. The Court is wary, aware of political pitfalls, and wished the parliament, the polity should take a call on that. . 

Sheer falsehood and dishonesty by a PM who swears by truth.

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Hindu communities, including Dalits, stand by Muslims and protest Karnataka BJP’s reservations policy

Muslim protest SDPI Bangalore

Muslims led by the Social and Democratic Party of India (SDPI) staged protests in Chitradurga, Hosapete, Koppal, and Bengaluru opposing the move to cancel the exclusive reservation given to some communities.

Responding to the SDPI protest, Chief Minister Bommai said: “SDPI is an anti-national organisation. Is it possible for them to appreciate my decision? I am not someone who will pay attention to their reprimand.”

But can he brand others too, and antagonize them? See these reports:

“We will not accept this (Bommai decision), won’t celebrate it and will reject this. We are not gaining any happiness by causing pain to another community (Muslims),” Vijayanand Kashappanavar, the president of the All India Panchamasali Lingayat Mahasabha, was shown by local channels as saying in Belagavi.

“We are a community that believes and follows the teachings of Basavanna. And under this, we practise ‘Dasoha’ (charity). We only give and have no philosophy of snatching from others.”  

“The Panchamasalis, the biggest sub-sect within the dominant Lingayats, have rejected Bommai’s decision by which Muslims were removed from the 2B category in the state backward classes list”  — which has 4 per cent quota — and their share equally divided between Lingayats and Vokkaligas, who happen to be politically most influential communities in Karnataka. 

Banjara protest

People belonging to Banjara community protest against the state cabinet’s decision to give internal reservation within the Scheduled Castes quota, in Shivamogga, Karnataka, March 27, 2023. (PTI Photo).

What is just may not be legal, and what is legal may not be just, BJP must note.Laws can be made and changed too. BJP can not fool all the people for all the time.

BJP is not in a position to convince even non-Muslims on this question.

A massive protest led by the members of Banjara, Bhovi, Koracha and Korama communities turned violent when they began pelting stones at former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s home in Shivamogga district, Karnataka, on March 27 last year.

Members of certain Dalit communities, known as “touchable” Dalits, and Muslim groups have been protesting in Karnataka over the past two days demonstrating their opposition to the radical rejig of the reservation matrix proposed by the  Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government after its Cabinet meeting on March 24, says a report March 29, 2023.  

“On March 27, members of the Lambani and Bhovi communities tried to barge into former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s house in Shikaripura in Shivamogga district. A day later, the protests spread beyond Shivamogga to other districts in north and central Karnataka. Several tandas (villages where Lambanis reside) all over Karnataka have put up posters stating: “BJP legislators are not allowed.”

Reason behind change in policy by Bommai

Reservations for Muslims in Karnataka has been a decades-old policy. Three BJP CMs, before Bommai, over the last 20 years implemented them without a murmur.

The BJP with a tarnished image as a “40% commission sarkar” needed to divert people  of Karnataka. Therefore, it decided to meddle with the reservation policy to win over voters in the run-up to the Legislative Assembly election scheduled to be held on May 10 last year.

In the March 24 Cabinet meeting, the Bommai government also decided to recommend changes in internal reservation, within the quota for Scheduled Castes (SCs). Of the total quantum of reservation of 17 per cent for SCs in Karnataka, the Madigas have been allotted 6 per cent and the Holeyas 5.5 per cent, “touchable” Dalits 4.5 per cent and other Dalits 1 per cent.

While the BJP recommended internal reservation to placate the Madigas, the decision has left the “touchable” Dalits aggrieved, as they fear that their share in government employment and educational institutions will decline.

(frontline.thehindu.com, Mar 29, 2023)

BJP wanted to placate certain Hindu communities, but they were not impressed.

Muslims were the sole religious minority in the 2B category of the backward classes list. According to the March 24 (2023) decision, the community — around 13 per cent of the state’s 60 million plus (2011 census) population — can now avail EWS quota that has 10 per cent reservation. In Karnataka, there have been five main communities under the EWS quota — Brahmin, Jain, Arya Vysya, Nagarthas and Mudaliars — which make up around 4 per cent of the state’s population. (theprint.in, 04 April, 2023)

Nobody likes to share the cake!  

Bommai government tinkered with reservations hoping to get some political mileage, but all that boomeranged. Those who he wanted to placate were themselves unhappy for various reasons. Even before the March orders, Bommai met with protests, also by some cult leaders.   

“Members of Panchamasali Lingayat community on Jan 13, 2023 held a protest in front of the CM Basavaraj Bommai‘s residence over “lack of clarity” in providing reservation to them. They have been demanding reservation under 2A section of the other background classes (OBC) category. Kudalasangama Peetha’s Jagadguru Basava Jaya Mruthynjaya Swamiji, quoted by  ANI, said:

“CM had promised and swore on his mother that he will give 2A reservation on Dec 29. We asked for 2A reservation but they gave 2D. CM made a mistake by swearing on his mother. So we’re doing satyagraha in front of CM’s house for one day.”

(hindustantimes.com, Jan 13, 2023)

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‘The Bommai decision led to the defeat of BJP in Karnataka’, say its leaders

Labelling the Congress as the “biggest enemy of the OBCs”, PM Modi, at a Madhya Pradesh rally, stated, “Once again, Congress has granted religious-based reservation in Karnataka by including all Muslim castes along with the OBCs through the backdoor. This move has deprived a significant portion of the reservation from the OBC community.”

The BJP gamble led to their defeat In a quick clap back, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the claim that the Congress had “transferred” the reservation from backward classes to Muslims was a “blatant lie”. (indiatoday.in,  Apr 25, 2024 )

The Bommai gamble of BJP, egged on by Modi and Amit Shah, ultimately did not help the party to win the Assembly elections. There were many factors, including 40% commission, but the reservation policy was surely a factor, BJP leaders said:  

“Many defeated BJP candidates in a post-poll review meeting held on Jun 08, 2023, are said to have blamed the last minute changes to the state’s reservation policy as well as internal reservation within the SC sub-sects for the party’s poor showing in the 2023 assembly polls.”


The party had invited 66 sitting MLAs and all the other candidates who lost the polls.
The candidates freely aired their opinion at the introspection meeting organised by the BJP in Bengaluru with BJP national general secretaries Arun Singh and CT Ravi, former CMs BS Yediyurappa (BSY) and Bommai and state unit president Nalinkumar Kateel in attendance.

Bommai and sections of MLAs felt they did not have enough time to successfully convey to voters the benefits of the changes in the reservation policy.

(economictimes.indiatimes.com, Jun 08, 2023)

But evidence was clear: The Panchamasalis rejected the Bommai decision for a second time in less than two months. Members of the Banjara (Lambani), Bovi, sections of SCs, not to speak of Muslims were on a path of agitation at several places, as seen above. 

BSY saw the writing on the wall and said:

“I want to tell our minority Muslims, no matter who says what, if there is one programme that I have done (implemented) which was only for Hindus, not for Muslims, I will retire from politics,” Yediyurappa had said at a public gathering in his home constituency of Shikaripura 4 April, 2023.

“I have never shown any partiality. I always believed that Hindu-Muslims should live as children of the same mother…that is the reason (that) so many Muslims have come here and I cannot repay the debt of their love and affection.”  

Yediyurappa’s comment comes at a time the Panchamasalis, the biggest sub-sect within the dominant Lingayats, have rejected Bommai’s decision. But it was too late.

(theprint.in, 4 April, 2023)

But desperate as they are, Modi and Amit Shah spewed anti-Muslim venom, hoping it would save them and Modi will be back as PM the third time. The day of reckoning is not far off. 

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Modi-led BJP’s vote-bank politics to woo Muslims double-tongued policy

PM Modi frequently mentioned ‘Pasmanda Muslims’ in his speeches, with an eye on wooing them to support BJP.

He emulates Congress in treating them as a vote-banks.

Modi asserted that he would not permit reservation based on religion for Muslims as long as he is alive, reported PTI April 30,2024, as we saw above.

PM Modi on Apr 22, 2024, just a week earlier, accused Congress and Samajwadi Party of engaging in “appeasement” politics and failing to support the minority community.

(timesofindia, Aligarh, Apr 23, 2024). It was in Aligarh, where BJP needed Muslim votes. 

Speaking at a rally in support of BJP Lok Sabha candidates Satish Gautam (Aligarh) and Anoop Valmiki (Hathras) at the Numaish Ground in Aligarh, Modi said, “When I talk of Pasmanda Muslims (backward sections within the minority community), they get worried…‘inke baal khade ho jate hai kyuki upar ke logon ne malai khai hai’ (their hair stands on end as the people at the top have always taken away the cream — bulk of the benefits — and forced Pasmanda Muslims to live in this condition).”

Aligarh has a sizeable population of Muslims, with a majority — almost 80% — being Pasmanda. Accusing the opposition of selectively catering only to the upper strata of Muslims, the PM highlighted his govt’s efforts to benefit Muslim women and their families such as the law against triple talaq and the extension of the Haj quota, which allows women to go on Haj without a male companion (mehram).

We have seen above how BSY spoke about his commitment to serve Muslims. Even while Bommai played anti-Muslim politics in March 2023, the BJP in UP was wooing Muslims:

“Apparently buoyed by its victory in the Muslim-dominated Rampur Assembly constituency (UP) in the bypoll last year, the BJP is now planning to reach out to the minority community through a series of conferences in the western UP districts, where Muslims are in sizable numbers, ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls, scheduled to be held in 2024.

“ The saffron party planned to organise ‘Sneh Milan – Ek Desh Ek DNA Sammelan’ (harmony meet – one country, one DNA conference) in the western UP districts starting from next month, a senior BJP minority wing leader here said on 07 March 2023.

He said that the conferences were aimed at driving home the message that the “DNA of all of us was the same”. ”It is in line with the party’s slogan of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.”

Although, the BJP had won 65 of the 80 seats with its allies in the 2019 LS polls in UP, it had lost in several Muslim strongholds of Moradabad, Rampur, Bijnore, Sambhal and Saharanpur. So for 2024, Modi-led BJP woos Muslims in UP.

(deccanherald.com, 7 March 2023)

https://www.deccanherald.com/india/bjps-outreach-to-muslims-in-uttar-pradesh-ahead-of-ls-polls-1198010.html

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The Pasmandas and Modi’s double-tongued policy on Muslims

Pasmanda

“The Prime Minister said that there are OBCs even among the Muslims and other religions. The benefits meant for OBCs are also for them.” Modi addressed many Pasmanda muslim meetings. (Illustration courtesy: Economic Times,Apr 17, 2017).  “ benefits meant for OBCs” must include reservations..

Modi had also made an explicit reference to the Pasmanda Muslims in the BJP Conclave in Orissa in 2017, where he had opined that there are OBCs even among the Muslims and other religions and the benefits meant for OBCs should also be available to the Muslim OBCs, which are at present are being usurped by the Syeds and Pathans, the Ashrafs.

The BJP has undertaken a special drive in 65 minority-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies across the country to reach out to the poorer sections within the community, especially those who have benefited from the central government’s social sector schemes.(deccanherald.com, 30 June 2023).

In June 2023, PM Modi addressed a huge crowd of BJP workers in Bhopal, where among other things, he spoke about Pasmanda Muslims:  “Members of their own community have oppressed them, but this has never been discussed in the country. The Pasmanda Muslims still aren’t treated equally,” PM Modi said in his speech.

A month before this speech, BJP had swept the urban polls in Uttar Pradesh. While the BJP doesn’t have a single Muslim MP, the party gave 395 tickets to Muslim candidates in these urban polls, a majority of whom were Pasmanda Muslims. 61 such candidates won, including Farkhanda Jabin of Moradabad. Her son, Abd Arshman, is functioning as the de facto chairperson (thequint.com.)    

(https://www.thequint.com/news/politics/pm-modi-led-bjps-pasmanda-muslim-outreach-heres-what-the-community-has-to-say#read-more)

The BJP reiterated its commitment to the cause of backward classes at its national executive meeting (Orissa 2017)  with  Modi himself making an intervention during passage of a resolution supporting grant of constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes to emphasise that Muslim Pasmandas should not be excluded from the benefits meant for this section of the society.


BJP MP Hukum Deo Narayan Yadav moved the resolution that was seconded by Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on the “historic decision” of the NDA government to give constitutional status to NCBC on the lines of the SC and ST Commissions.

During the discussion on the resolution, Modi made an intervention, according to sources. “The Prime Minister said that there are OBCs even among the Muslims and other religions. The benefits meant for OBCs are also for them and should go to the Muslim OBCs too. He underlined that these welfare measures are usurped by the Syeds and Pathans,” a BJP leader told ET.

Modi said it should be responsibility of not just the minority morcha but also that of the whole party to ensure the benefits for OBCs go to Pasmanda Muslims. He pressed for an outreach to the economically weak and backward Muslims.

Modi renewed his appeal to the BJP cadre to reach out to the Pasmanda Muslims in its two-day National Executive Meeting in Hyderabad on July 2nd & 3rd, 2022.

After PM Modi’s appeal to the BJP cadre, former Lt Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung & S.Y. Quraishi, the Ex-Chief Election Commissioner along with five Muslim Intellectuals had met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat on August 22, 2022 in Delhi.

Najeeb Jung then had said that the Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat had “underlined a need for complete reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims imperative for India’s progress”. The idea of reconciliation according to the group of intellectuals who met the RSS Chief was supported by 80 percent of Muslims and non-Muslims.

Following this meeting, Bhagwat along with senior Sangh functionaries Krishna Gopal, Ram Lal and Indresh Kumar, Chief Patron, Muslim Rashtriya Manch had a meeting with the Chief Imam of the All-India Imam Organization (AIIO), Umer Ahmed Ilyasi on 22nd of September, 2022 where Ilyasi had expressed the hope that the talks would help create communal harmony.

Executive Member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Qasim Rasool Ilyas however suspected the motive behind this meeting…Reportedly, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind secretary, Niaz Ahmed Farooqui had however welcomed RSS Chief Bhagwat’s initiative. Farooqui had expressed that the Muslim community needed to focus on the real issues faced by it like the backwardness of Muslims and the lack of opportunities for the community, especially in terms of education and employment. As such, even though the meeting was symbolic, it was still a step forward, he felt.

Narendra Modi’s interest in Pasmanda Muslims, comprising the OBC, Dalit, and Adivasi Muslims that constitute about 85% of Indian Muslims, is said to be not new.

As Gujarat chief minister, he had reportedly given a patient audience to a contingent of Pasmanda activists from Uttar Pradesh for about forty-five minutes during Ramadan in 2013. By the end of 2013, the UP BJP had formed the Weavers’ Cell to reach out to Pasmanda Muslims.

In the Hyderabad conclave, Modi had stressed the need for exploring new social equations within the minority communities. He had said that there is a need to look at these communities not as monolithic communities which resist change and apply a single, society-wide set of customs, norms, and values.

According to some estimates, Pasmanda Muslims make up about 80-85 percent of the 17 crore Muslim population in India. The term ‘Pasmanda Muslim’ refers broadly to backward Muslims. The term also refers to the caste connotations, referring to the caste of the person before he/she converted to Islam.

The Pasmanda community has 41 castes, including Ansari, Qureshi, Mansoori, Salmani and Siddiqui. They are in professions such as butchers and weavers, and considered most backward in social, economic, and political terms. In Pasmanda Muslim meets, BJP leaders are stressing that the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and the Congress have always used Muslims as a vote bank and have denied them their due.

( See article A peep into the Pasmanda outreach of Modi & RSS – Part – I, by Dr. Prashant Prabhakar Deshpande, Times of India, January 30, 2023.

Ramakrishnan is a political observer who contributed to countercurrents.org.

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Appendix

“There were more than 100 castes, yes castes, listed among muslims of UP, Bihar, Maharashtra etc. a few decades ago. Reservations were extended and implemented to some of these castes among muslims as backward communities in all the states of South as also in Bengal (OB C A and B), despite some legal hitches”

( See article in CC 14/04/2021:  Ambedkar on Castes In India And Among Muslims.).

https://countercurrents.org/2021/04/ambedkar-on-castes-in-india-and-among-muslims

Dr. KA Ansari, a scholar on the subject was cited in the article:  

The Pasmanda Movement (PM) refers to the contemporary caste/class movement among Indian Muslims. Though the history of caste movements among Muslims can be traced back to the commencement of the Momin Movement in the second decade of the 20th century, it is the Mandal decade (the 1990s) that saw it getting a fresh lease of life. That decade witnessed the formation of two frontline organisations in Bihar – the All India United Muslim Morcha (1993) led by Ejaz Ali and the All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (1998) led by Ali Anwar – and various other organisations else-where.

“Pasmanda, a word of Persian origin, literally means “those who have fallen behind”, “broken” or “oppressed”. For our purposes here it refers to the dalit and backward caste Indian Muslims who constitute, according to most estimates, 85% of the Muslim population and about 10% of India’s population. By invoking the category of “caste”, the PM interrogates the notion of a monolithic Muslim identity and consequently much of “mainstream” Muslim politics based on it.

“By and large, mainstream Muslim politics reflects the elite-driven symbolic/ emotive/ identity politics (Babri Mosque, Uniform Civil Code, status of Urdu, the Aligarh Muslim University and so on) which thoroughly discounts the developmental concerns and aspirations of common Muslim masses.

“By emphasising that the Muslim identity is segmented into at least three caste/class blocks – namely, ashraf (elite upper caste), ajlaf (middle caste or shudra) and arzal (lowest castes or dalit) – the PM dislodges the common-place assumption of any putative uniform community sentiment or interests of Indian Muslims. It suggests that just like any other community, Muslims too are a divided house with different sections harbouring different interests. It stresses that the emotive issues raised by elite Muslims engineer a “false consciousness” (to use a Marxian term) and that this euphoria around Muslim identity is often generated in order to bag benefits from the state as wages for the resultant de-politicisation of the Muslim masses.

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