BJP Faces Challenges in Wooing Muslim Voters in Indian-Administered Kashmir

Upcoming Kashmir election poses challenge for BJP to win over Muslim voters, as party faces accusations of using religious politics to divert attention from development failures.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
BJP Faces Challenges in Wooing Muslim Voters in Indian-Administered Kashmir

BJP Faces Challenges in Wooing Muslim Voters in Indian-Administered Kashmir

With the general election in Indian-administered Kashmir approaching, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing an uphill battle in winning over Muslim voters in the region. The election, which will be conducted in five phases, is the first since the Modi government's controversial decision in August 2019 to revoke the region's autonomy and strip it of its statehood.

The main parties in the fray are the BJP, Congress, and regional parties like the National Conference, People's Democratic Party, J&K People's Conference, Apni Party, and Democratic Progressive Azad Party. The People's Alliance on Gupkar Declaration, which had called for the restoration of democracy in Kashmir, started disintegrating in 2021, with the National Conference and PDP falling out over seat-sharing.

Congress leader Sachin Pilot has accused the BJP of using religious politics to divert attention from its failures in development. He claimed that the BJP government is employing 'religious politics as a means of diverting attention from its shortcomings' in the domain of development, focusing on issues like temples, mosques, Hindus, and Muslims, rather than addressing important matters like schools, colleges, hospitals, the economy, jobs, women, young people, farmers, and inflation.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur defended the Muslim community in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, stating that there was no discrimination based on creed, caste, or religion. He accused the Congress of dividing people on the basis of religion and said the BJP believes in uniting the country. Thakur claimed the Modi government has ensured justice for all, including those deprived of their rights in Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

The BJP is actively working to include marginalized Pasmanda Muslims in its outreach efforts, addressing their specific concerns. Pasmanda Muslims constitute about 75% of the Muslim population in India and face discrimination, contrary to Islamic principles. The BJP has become the first national party to address social justice within the Muslim community, with party president J.P. Nadda initiating extensive outreach programs in Uttar Pradesh.

However, the BJP faces challenges in states like Assam, where the government's actions are seen as against Muslims. While the growing inclination of the Pasmanda community towards the BJP is visible, the party faces an uphill battle in wooing Muslim voters in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Why this matters:The upcoming general election in Indian-administered Kashmir is a pivotal test for the BJP's efforts to win over Muslim voters in the region. The party's success or failure in this endeavor could have significant implications for the political landscape of Kashmir and the future of the BJP's outreach to marginalized Muslim communities across India.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated that the BJP believes in winning the hearts of people, which will lead to the 'lotus', the party's poll symbol, blooming across the Valley. He accused the Congress, National Conference, and PDP of being responsible for fake encounters, firing on Kashmiri youth, and not allowing democracy to grow in the region. Shah claimed that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, peace and development have been restored in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, ending terrorism, stone-pelting, and Pakistan-sponsored strikes.

Key Takeaways

  • BJP faces uphill battle to win over Muslim voters in Indian-administered Kashmir.
  • Congress accuses BJP of using religious politics to divert attention from development failures.
  • BJP defends its record on Muslims, claims no discrimination under Modi govt.
  • BJP actively reaching out to marginalized Pasmanda Muslims, a significant Muslim population.
  • Upcoming Kashmir election is a pivotal test for BJP's efforts to win over Muslim voters.