Saffron is popular as the colour of the flag of Shivaji’s army and the identity of Hinduism. While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also known for promoting Hindutva politics and they identify themselves through the colour saffron to woo the Hindu voters. But the BJP which is pig-headed with its saffronisation now turns green in their invites overnight on the occasion of Ramadan with arranging an iftar party to allure the Muslim voters amidst the chain of elections coming up.
Mumbai Minority Morcha BJP President Waseem Khan stated, “BJP is going with ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ mantra. The reason for organising the party is to have a good coordination, connectivity and good communication with Muslims. We want to promote peace and social harmony in this period of Ramadan. After Ramadan we are planning to organise Muslim Vikas Samelan to have a discussion on the development and welfare of Muslims. It is a wrong perception that BJP is against Muslims. Every year we organise iftar party and it is neither to please the Muslim community nor any kind of political move.”
BJP organised a Daawat-e-Roza iftar at Haj House in South Mumbai on Thursday. The iftar party witnessed Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Guest along with BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain, Minority Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde. The dawaat was presided by MLA and Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar and the Guests of Honour were Poonam Mahajan, Gopal Shetty, and Kirit Somaiya.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Ashish Jaiswal said, “BJP is in confusion over whether they should adopt secularism or Hindutva. Now, with the environment of intolerance, BJP want to display the agenda of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’. Shiv Sena has a pure saffron flag as our Hindutva is pure. This is an attempt to please the Muslim community as they became aware of the importance of votes after the change in current political scenario.”
It seems like BJP is leaving no stone unturned to create history in being a hypocrite party. As earlier, the BJP had never organised iftars; but post-2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who strode to power made no bones about not attending iftar celebrations. Later, RSS which is known for its rabid provocations on Hindutva sprang a surprise in 2016 by announcing an iftar under the aegis of its affiliate body Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) for the first time in 70 years. This year BJP comes in for a shock by dropping their coherence of being saffron and takes the green colour, usually notified for Muslim community, into consideration for sending the invites for their organised iftar dawaat. With a setback that BJP received in Karnataka, UP and Gujarat elections a few months ago, political experts estimate this as a community pleaser act which reveals the fear of oppositions within the party in the midst of the election era. Is the party making an attempt to dilute its hardcore anti-Muslim image?
Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi commented, “BJP is revealing its double standard as on one side they are attacking the Muslims by promoting hate speeches, on the other hand, they are arranging iftar party. This is a political strategy to attract the Muslim voters to remain in power after the setback received in the elections this year.”
NCP president Sharad Pawar states the RSS and BJP holding iftar parties for Muslims as “nothing but a joke”. Looking at the ritual of attacking the Muslims by BJP has increased over the years. According to official statistics, India witnessed more than 700 outbreaks of communal violence in 2016 that killed 86 and injured 2,321 people. The actual number, however, could be higher as many cases go unreported, adds the report by the Mumbai-based Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS).
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Husain Dalwai expressed, “When Congress used to organise iftar party, BJP used to laugh at it and call it as an act of appeasement to Muslims. BJP only calculates saffron and green in political terms. After the setback received by BJP in recent by-polls, now they understood that they need Muslim votes too. Rather than arranging iftar party,they should stop abusing Muslims and think about their welfare.”
Last year, the nation observed the crystal clear deep-rooted hatred with the political iftar party that was hosted at Rashtrapati Bhawan in absence of all cabinet ministers and leaders of the party in power. Coincidentally, this was also the period which had seen the lowest elected Muslim members in the Parliament. Minority development department of the state government and ‘Muslim Rashtriya Munch’- an organisation affiliated to RSS, organised an iftar party at Mumbai’s Sahyadri guest house on June 4. The iftar party, however, sparked row as many questions were raised on the involvement of Muslim Rashtriya Munch as co-organiser of this official event. However, Vinod Tawade who was an attendee of the iftar, asked other political parties not to see any politics in this.
AIMIM MLA Imtiaz Jaleel stated, “Suddenly we are seeing a different face of BJP and RSS, as they arranged an iftar party in Sahyadri a few days back. Why this sudden change when just elections are around the corner while Ramadan is being celebrated for many years. This is just a political move. What about the welfare and development of Muslim community as a whole? Now a large chunk of Hindu community is going away, hence, this is an attempt to please the Muslim voters for the 2019 elections.”
Whether this welcoming act of BJP’s iftar party will work or not for the Muslim voters is too soon to say! Although, it can be articulated that Muslims would appreciate the welfare and development of their community instead of such appeasement strategy by the party and its leaders.