Shazia Ilmi: This huge victory could not have happened, if 40 out of 80 Muslim-dominated areas had not voted BJP
Delhi BJP vice-president Shazia Ilmi spoke with Rohit E David on Muslim women voting for Narendra Modi, appeasement politics, Left-liberal abuse and the future of AAP in Delhi.
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On silent voters who voted for BJP;
First of all, I totally agree, there have been plenty of such persons. Muslims and young voters have voted for good governance. The overall theme of the elections was pro-governance, pro-development against dynastic politics, casteism and negativity. Others ran a very negative campaign of defeating PM Modi — what has worked for Modi ji was this whole thing of instilling confidence in every Indian to do better.
He is looking at some very basic things which should actually have been done 10 years after independence.
'Muslims, and Muslim women in particular, have voted for good governance. That's the BJP.' (Photo: PTI)
One of my relatives told her husband, ‘Modi ji wants dignity for women, our lives will become better, he is against triple talaq — and you will have to vote for him.’ There is a driver named Chand who works in my Kanpur house, he gets a small salary. He was telling me, ‘Shazia didi, ‘Humari zindagi main kuch nahi badla hai, na Modi ke aane se, na Yogi, na SP. Par mere pass Jan Dhan account khul gaya hai’. (Shazia didi, in our lives, nothing has changed with the coming of Modi, Yogi or SP. But I have a Jan Dhan account which has been opened now).
He was so happy that he has a debit card — this goes a long way. I know this person, Ratan, he is from Odisha and he's a poor boy — for the first time, they will have a house in the state. The tehsildar came and got it done. These are real people.
So, yes, there have been silent voters — this huge victory could not have happened had 40 out of 80 Muslim-dominated areas not have voted for the BJP with the vote share of the party going up by such a degree.
On minorities voting for Modi;
A fear has been created — and for years, it has been used as a galvanising force to cast votes in the name of religion. What did Muslims see? There were these stories, the Akhlaq and Junaid incidents, yes, but there were also convictions and arrests.
'Muslims could see the BJP did not discriminate between religions while dispensing development schemes.' (Photo: PTI)
All the government schemes were being dispensed with no discrimination at all.
Dhruv Tyagi, Chandan were murdered and those examples are never talked about — Alwar is never spoken about.
On BJP having no Muslim MP in the Lok Sabha;
Yes, because how many Muslims are there in the BJP? Do you know what I have to go through? Please see my Twitter handle — the kind of filthy words which I have to endure from my Muslim brothers, from my earlier AAP community and from Left-liberals.
I was not able to speak in Jamia, there was an effort to keep me away from India’s Islamic Centre because if you are in the BJP, forget me being electable by Muslims, I’m not worthy of being socially included in any such programmes.
This boycott is done not even so much by Muslims but by sections of Left-liberals and some media. They ask me, why did you join the BJP? It is such a terrible and fascist party!
In the last five years, there has not been any communal rioting like there used to be. After the Gujarat riots, in Modi ji’s second term, many Muslims started joining the BJP. So, there are 103 Muslim candidates who won panchayat polls on a BJP ticket in Gujarat.
Did AAP or Congress give any Muslim tickets in Delhi? And then they want Muslim votes?
On the voters' rejection of Congress and Left;
I think, including Muslims, they are all sick and tired of caste-based social engineering and the same old politics done in the name of identity. This whole thing of ‘naamdar vs kaamdar’ matters, PM Modi is looking at transformation in a very big way. Have you ever heard of someone looking at toilets in the ’70s, which should have been the right time?
There are 10 crore new toilets, 35 crore Indians have got new accounts.
'It's not the end of Rahul Gandhi — but he needs to introspect.' (Photo: Twitter)
I wouldn’t say that this election is the very end of Rahul Gandhi — but I feel it’s time for serious self-introspection.
On AAP getting rejected;
Where is the good work by AAP? The reality is very different — kids in Delhi schools are doing much worse, there is a higher dropout rate. This does raise question about their leadership and also this politics — people have had enough.
AAP ka kya hoga? 'People don't like Arvind Kejriwal making fun of PM Modi.' (Photo: PTI)
When someone like Arvind Kejriwal makes fun of the Prime Minister and says that he wants to kill me and they tell people that Ayushman Bharat is rubbish, people don’t like it.
On the rise of political Hinduism;
What do you call 'Muslim representation'? Is Azam Khan the image of Muslims? I doubt it. I am very much there, I’m a Muslim, I do my roza (fasting), Eid, it has always been there. I go to the BJP office and I did my prayers. Are Muslims seen through these identities? Or are they going to be like regular Indians? Or will they always be the other ones?
This is not Jinnah’s separate electorates.
When Digvijay Singh was doing puja, wasn’t that political Hinduism?
We in the BJP are against identity politics — the poor and the middle class are our vote bank. We have united the huge aspiring middle class. The whole division of Hindus and Muslims is gone and we have said that governance works, through schemes like Ayushman Bharat and toilets for all.