BJP envisions riots history as poll tool

In a major bid to prevent the consolidation of the minority vote bank in the Congress’ favour, the BJP will shortly release a “Vision Document to Empower Minorities”, the first document of its kind by the party.
To cover the stain of the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat, the “Vision Document” has put across a history of religious massacres in India. Although there is no specific apology for the Gujarat riots in the document, it has, however, recorded the history of communal clashes from 1955 to 1997 and described the carnage as “unfortunate and unjustified”. The document states that the “Congress puts communal colour to riots. The riots are unfortunate and cannot be justified under any government or under any circumstances.”
The BJP, which lacks an ally with “credible” secular credentials at this juncture, is aware it would need partial support of the 20 per cent Muslim vote bank if the party wants to return to power.
To woo the Muslims and other minorities, the document promises “maximum participation of minorities in governance”. The committee preparing the “Vision Document” is headed by party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
The “Vision Document” promises social upliftment of the minority communities in fields ranging from education to political participation.
Though it remains vague about the percentage of tickets to be given to the minorities, it promises to “increase their involvement in mainstream political activities”. It also pledges to “stop” the “persecution of the minority community under the present rule in terror-related cases”.
With the Gujarat riots continuing to haunt the BJP’s star campaigner, Mr Narendra Modi, the party is worried about the consolidation of the minority votes in the Congress’ favour in key states like UP, Bihar and Maha-rashtra, which have a total 168 Lok Sabha seats. While the Muslim vote bank in UP is around 20 per cent, it is 17 per cent in Bihar and 12 per cent in Maharashtra.
Even Karnataka (25 seats) has a minority vote bank of 13 per cent. It has also been taken into consideration that the BJP has not been able to make any impact in states like West Bengal, with a 27 per cent minority vote bank, Andhra Pradesh with 11 per cent, Kerala with 25 per cent and Tamil Nadu with a seven per cent minority vote bank.
The BJP document claims that while the Congress has been trying to hold the BJP and Mr Modi responsible for riots, it (the Congress) too was “responsible for such massacres”.

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