By Ashutosh Roy
?En chahero se mayusi ki tasveer badlenge??said Arif Beig, who, after years returned to his parivar, Bharatiya Janata Party. And to wipe out the feeling of helplessness from their lives, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee once again extended his hand of friendship. The wheel of time is moving. It moves slowly, but it does. For, the Muslims, who the pseudo secular gang fed the fear of a BJP bogey and who once ran away from the saffron shadow, are slowly walking towards it, to embrace the saffron dhwaj.
Despite a relentless campaign by the Opposition, particularly Congress, against the BJP and calling it ?anti-Muslim?, Indian Muslims are reaching out to hold Atalji'sextended hand. ?It was my mistake that for decades I ignored Atalji'shand of friendship. I failed to sense the sincerity of his approach. Why should I blame others; it was my grave error too, that I rejected his hand,? confessed, the former Congress Union Minister and its best known Muslim face, Arif Mohammad Khan, at a minority convention organised by the BJP.
Arif Mohammad Khan and Anwarul Haq have joined the BJP. If Arif is disillusioned by Congress and its Italy-born chief Sonia Gandhi'spseudo secularism, Anwarul also realised the doublespeak of his former leader, Laloo Prasad Yadav.
Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah
is no more fascinated and impressed by the Congress'sbrand of secularism. One of the prominent Muslim faces of the Congress has also come out against its chief, Sonia Gandhi. ?The problem is not with the party, but with the leadership. The present leadership has moved away from the ideology of Gandhi, Nehru, Azad and Patel. This is not a leadership I can respect,? Ms Heptullah has gone on record to say. While accusing Ms Gandhi of ?humiliating? her, Ms Heptullah described Prime Minister Vajpayee as a ?good man, who thinks of the nation.? Ms Heptullah then said, Vajpayee, ?is a leader, you can trust. The Congress leadership has lost that respect.?
As Muslim leaders, on whose shoulders rested Congress brand of secularism, started fleeing the outfit, a beleaguered Congress described Ms Heptullah as a ?Siberian crane, who is looking for greener pastures.? This could be a dig at Najma for displaying her courage to stand up against the dictatorial leadership of the Congress, but the sarcasm is not merely ominous but is realistic. Siberian crane is a migratory bird, which flies away from her original place during the harsh winter, when food and source of life dry up. If Ms Heptullah is flying away like a ?Siberian crane?, is it harsh winter in the Congress domain? For, not merely Ms Heptullah, leaders like former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Digvijay Singh'sbrother, Lakshman Singh also flew to the BJP camp.
Starvation and death seem to be ruling the Congress station. Ms Heptullah perhaps is not a ?Siberian crane?, but she is like that brave heart, who refused to be ruled and humiliated by a leader of foreign origin.
For years the BJP had been trying to remove the ?misconception? from the Muslim psyche. Sikandar Bhakt and Arif Beig joined the BJP, when the party was an anathema for their community, thanks to the Congress disinformation campaign. Slowly things started changing.
The BJP chief, M. Venkaiah Naidu took over the leadership of the party and stressed on his ?social expansion? programme. Aided by his lieutenant and BJP'sbest known Muslim face, party general secretary, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi organised the Samrasta rally at his Parliamentary constituency, Rampur on May 28 last year.
The response was overwhelming. Both Naidu and Naqvi marched on. Recently the duo held another rally at Srinagar. The response was once again tremendous and finally the Alpasankhyak Vikas Sammelan was held in New Delhi. In a packed Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Naidu declared, ?In India, Muslims are not a minority community. They are citizens of India.?
Naqvi said, ?Muslims do not want appeasement. They need programmes and policies, which would bring them to the social mainstream.? Why is there this exodus of Muslim leaders from the self-styled secular outfits to BJP? It seems over the years, that Muslim masses, intellectuals and leaders have realised the doubleface of the Congress and other pseudo-secular outfits.
BJP believes in Hindutva and Hindutva is a way of life, as per the Supreme Court definition. BJP believes in Ram Mandir, as it is a matter of faith. BJP believes in Uniform Civil Code, because the party is convinced that, the justice and law should be same for all communities. It was Atal Behari Vajpayee who could bring peace across the Line of Control.
It took BJP-led NDA to enable the Indian Muslims to meet their long-lost relatives in Pakistan. Congress is not communal. Yet, for decades, it has held the hand of Muslim League in Kerala. If Muslim League is not communal, who else is? The secular Congress surrendered to the Muslim
fundamentalists in the Shah Bano case. Scared that it would lose its Hindu vote bank, the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi performed Shilanyas at Ramjanmabhoomi. During the Gujarat elections, Ms Gandhi played the ?soft Hindutva card?. During the Madhya Pradesh elections, Digvijay Singh ran all over the state to display his respect for ?holy cow?. Congress has been flaying BJP over Ram Mandir, but till date none of its leaders could come out in the open to oppose the proposed construction of Ram Mandir. Realisation has dawned on Muslims that for years these outfits have been using them for vote bank politics. ?Think carefully. Country is at the crossroads. Do you want to vote for progress and peace or do you want parties, which have taken the Muslim vote bank for granted,? Mr Vajpayee observed.