Coinciding, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to make inroads in Muslim electorate, noted community leaders remind that the Hindutva’s earlier political incarnations were never a pariah for the community. They blame BJP for distancing itself from Muslims and adopting a hard Hindutva stand, after it got unnerved in 1984 by winning just two seats.
The BJP’s earlier incarnation Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) had several Muslims as its members and even at top positions. Noted Urdu literati Imdad Sabri represented the BJS in Delhi Metropolitan Council and rose to become its Mayor. Maulana Ikhlaq Hussain Qasmi, a cleric and writer had adorned the post of vice-president of Delhi unit of the BJS. Sheik Abdul Rahman was also vice-president of the BJP unit in Jammu and Kashmir. Anwar Ali Dehelvi was a two-time metropolitan councillor. Begam Khurshid Kidwai had won councillor elections on the BJS ticket from a Muslim dominated Jama Masjid constituency and became deputy mayor. Another Muslim dominated seat in Delhi Kasabpura was also represented by the Jan Sangh member Mohammad Ismael.
Noted Islamic scholar Prof Akhtarul Wasey blames the BJP for deviating from a centre of right party to a hardcore Hindutva ideology and thereby shutting doors for Muslims. “Jan Sangh was emerging and being seen as an alternative to centrist Congress,” he said. Angry with the atrocities heaped during emergency days, Muslims overwhelmingly voted for the Jan Sangh in 1977 elections to oust Indira Gandhi from power.
On Rajnath Singh’s apology, Prof. Wasey said Muslims want BJP to adopt a similar stand on 2002 Gujarat riots as it has on 1984 anti-Sikh riots. “Rajnath Singh’s apology will not work. We just want BJP to adopt similar stand, it has on 1984 anti-Sikh riots on 2002 Gujarat riots as well. He should introspect, that in Gujarat no minority commission, the state government does not allow scholarship scheme for minorities.” he added.