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Is the lotus turning green in Ahmedabad?

The BJP, that has been labelled a right-wing political body due to their saffron leanings, has attempted to woo Muslim voters at the upcoming civic body elections by fielding two candidates of the minority community.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that has been labelled a right-wing political body due to their saffron leanings, has attempted to woo Muslim voters at the upcoming civic body elections by fielding two candidates of the minority community. Retired IPS officer AI Saiyad has been fielded from Sarkhej ward, while Abdul Wasim Ansari has contested from Rajpur on a BJP ticket.

Saiyad is a retired officer of the 1978 IPS batch. Highly educated, he has degrees such as BSc, LLB, MS and a diploma in human rights to his credit. He had joined the saffron party just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.

Saiyad says he is impressed with the development brought about by chief minister Narendra Modi, and wants to contribute towards development and literacy within the Muslim community. "The Muslims should now learn to differentiate between well-wishers and enemies," he states. Saiyad gives full credit to the state government for the increase in literacy in the community.

Saiyad was part of the BJP's Lok Sabha campaign in the Patan constituency in 2009. "I am confident that Hindu voters will vote for me, as the Congress has betrayed them and not given a ticket to any Hindu candidate in Sarkhej," he says, adding, "The Congress is trying to create a rift between the communities. My party has, on the other hand, provided a true example of secularism by providing tickets to members of both the communities."

The other Muslim candidate fielded by the BJP is Abdul Wasim Ansari, who aspires to beat the Congress in its own bastion. He is banking on the large number of minority community voters in the area as well as on the internal rivalry within the Congress, to take him to victory.

Ansari, in sharp contrast to Saiyad's impressive academic record, has merely passed class VII in Urdu medium from a municipal school, and owns a computer embroidery unit. He joined the BJP around 15 years back, as he felt that the Congress had not provided basic amenities in his area. He has worked as general secretary of the minority cell of the BJP. "If I get a chance to work as corporator, my priority will be providing basic amenities to people in my ward," he says.

Ansari and Saiyad are, quite evidently, poles apart with respect to their age, education and association with the party. However, what is common is that both believe Muslims have benefited from development activities carried out by the party.

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