As the elections draw near, voices are getting louder & shrilled about the BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi’s “communal” record particularly his alleged role in the 2002 riots. Muslims, since 2002 have been more or less against Modi till recently when the stories of the development in Gujarat and the prosperity of Muslims in Gujarat through the mouths of Muslims there have been doing rounds. In the last assembly elections, BJP won elections from Muslim dominated areas.

The UPA government led by the Congress having nothing to show for, has repeatedly attacked Modi & trying to play on the minds of Muslims by inducing fear in them.

Muslims should ask themselves, in the last 67 years, majority of which has been ruled by Congress & a party that Muslims voted for, what has been the community’s progress on every parameter of development? Literacy, health, higher education, good jobs, getting into IAS,IFS etc. The answer is that there is not much to shout home about. Once regional parties like Samajwadi Party comes into picture, Muslims tried to vote tactically to keep BJP out.

My submission to Muslims is, you have voted tactically to keep BJP out and got nothing in return, this time vote for BJP strategically and give yourself a chance for a brighter future. Let me state my reasons for it.

First of all, the man himself Narendra Modi has not been found guilty by the courts in India. In the last ten years, a hostile UPA government has tried every trick in the book to corner Modi, but nothing has come against him. Trust the Supreme Court of India to be honest and non partisan which will not take any crime lightly.

No riots have taken place in Gujarat since 2002 and there has been terrific development overall there. In fact its widely known that Modi does not share a good relationship with VHP leader Praveen Togadia and VHP has been cut to size in Gujarat.

The first fear that everyone has is of life and their properties. This is the fear Congress induces in Muslims. But riots have happened under Congress rule. Bhagalpur riots saw nearly 1000 Muslims slaughtered under Congress watch.

This is what Satyendra Narain Sinha the Congress CM of the time had to say about the riots in his autobiography Meri Yaadein Meri Bhoolein

“The Bhagalpur communal riots are an unpleasant chapter in my life and my tenure as Chief Minister. Motivated by personal jealousy and ill will, some of my political colleagues fanned these riots,”

“Some of these political friends, though present at Bhagalpur during the riots, instead of bringing them under control, were adding fuel to the fire. The names of Bhagwat Jha Azad, who had to vacate the chief ministerial chair for me and former speaker Shivchandra Jha are worth mentioning in this regard,”

“The Prime Minister’s (Rajiv Gandhi) action, I think, was not only an encroachment of the Constitutional right of the state government but also a step detrimental to ongoing efforts to ease tensions,” Sinha says adding, “I thought stopping the SP’s transfer will send a wrong message to the Muslims and give fillip to indiscipline in the police force.”

More recently, Muzaffarnagar riots under Samajwadi Party watch. There have been scores of other riots under the rule of non BJP governments. The reason what Post Godhra riots have been in focus was that it took place in 24/7 media era while riots like those in Bhagalpur were in the days when the government had complete control over media and what was shown. What is to note that there has been judicial accountability of the post Godhra riots including conviction of a minister Maya Kodnani but the nation still awaits conviction of the people from Congress accused in earlier riots notably 1984 anti Sikh riots.

MJ Akbar in a recent article noted

The bombs that began to burst at Narendra Modi’s Patliputra rally were aimed at the crowds, of course, but also at him. His instant response was to ask a powerful question to both Hindus and Muslims that went to the crux of the principal challenge before our nation, and included its solution as well. He asked these two great communities to choose: they could either fight each other, or together they could confront that shaming curse called poverty.

So the choice is up to Muslims to forget the past misgivings about Modi & participate in the national goal of development.

I can say that if the BJP comes to power, it will make sure all the lumpen anti national elements indulging in communal hatred will be cut to size just like VHP has been in Gujarat. I would say that it will be forced to do so. The fear that large scale riots will take place is unfounded. There has been so much scrutiny on Modi worldwide that he will go out of his way to make sure that these fears remain unfounded. It is only recently that the UK opened up to Modi, the US maintains an ambiguous stand on visa for him so far. So imagine the international implication for staging large scale riots in the country.

Very recently noted author and journalist MJ Akbar who has been a long time baiter of Modi has now joined BJP and supports Modi.

In his blog giving the reason for his joining he says

There is only one way forward. And there is, among the visible choices, only one person best suited to lift the nation out of a septic swamp. You know his name as well as I do.

In an interview with Rajdeep Sardesai he says

it was time the country moved away from the politics of fear, adding that it was time to give Modi a chance and “see what happens”.

He goes on to say

I think this person (Modi) can deliver to help the Muslim community as much as the Hindu community in the country
Modi had said the only religion of an Indian is the constitution of India, and that is enough for me.”

Over the last ten years, there has been growing discontent among a section of the Hindu population about the policies of Congress and what is termed as appeasement. This has led to ill will towards Muslims for what they feel is unjust bias towards Muslims while neglecting Hindus. This feeling is prevalent even among large number of educated middle class Hindus. If the BJP comes to power, this section of people will have no reason for discontent. If the BJP does not come to power, their discontent will only grow leading to more extreme situation. So when I said Muslims have to make a strategic choice while voting, this is one among them.

Congress has used Muslims as vote banks. Kept them illiterate & poor while feeding them fear of BJP to get their votes while making no qualitative change in their lives. Its time they made their vote count for the better of their community. Don’t fall for what the local conniving Muslim leader says or what the clerics say. Do what’s good for you and your family. A better life for them should be the only goal. For that you need education, jobs, good business environment and most of all peace. Only the BJP right now can take care of all of them including peace by taking on anti national forces.