To achieve its “Mission 44 plus” the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has roped in Muslim clerics from other States to canvass for it in the ongoing Assembly polls…
By mid-month, over 2,000 clerics were campaigning door-to-door for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Valley. As the elections neared, more clerics were expected to come. “As many as 2,000 clerics are presently in Kashmir. They interact with the people to hear their basic issues and take up it with the Central Government,” Moulana Suhaib Qasmi, national president of his own Jammat Ulama-e-Hind, told reporters here. “As the campaigning gears up, more clerics will be coming here to campaign for the BJP,” he said.
Qasmi, a Deoband-based cleric, joined the BJP during the Lok Sabha polls which had stirred protests by some of his fellow clerics. While BJP leaders are rallying up for voters’ support in the Hindu-majority Jammu region, Qasmi said his focus will be on the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley. His focus is to target people with religious knowledge and those clerics who lead prayers in masjids in villages. “Since a lot of hatred has been spread against the BJP and RSS. I have come here to diffuse the hate campaign that has been spread against the BJP and RSS,” he said.
Drumming up support
He claimed that in Haryana and Maharashtra, Muslims voted for the BJP which is an indication that “Muslims are coming closer to the BJP.” Asked if he was planning to meet separatists, Qasmi said, “I will meet all those parties and people who are for peace and love each other.” While praising the RSS, the cleric said it is an apolitical organisation that works for the development of the country and for the downtrodden people. “The RSS has changed. It was the RSS that talked about Muslims of the country. Indresh Kumar, main worker of RSS, has galvanised Muslims to join RSS. And because of this change, Muslims are joining the RSS in Rajasthan, Madya Pradesh, Haryana and other States,” he said.
– Deccan Herald