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Developing Miya areas is our job whether they vote for us or not: Assam BJP chief

Bhabesh Kalita concurs with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s view that Bengali-speaking Muslims, comprising 34% of the State’s population, do not vote for the party

January 21, 2023 10:13 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 09:53 am IST - GUWAHATI

A Muslim boy looks out a window in Buraburi village in Morigaon district, Assam.  File image for representation.

A Muslim boy looks out a window in Buraburi village in Morigaon district, Assam. File image for representation. | Photo Credit: AP

GUWAHATI

Developing areas inhabited by the Miya people is the job of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam whether or not they vote for the party, State BJP president Bhabesh Kalita said on Saturday.

An honorific of Persian origin used to address Muslim men elsewhere in India, Miya is used as a pejorative term in Assam, referring to Bengali-speaking or Bengal-origin Muslims in the State, perceived to be “illegal immigrants” or “Bangladeshis”. Muslims comprise more than 34% of Assam’s total population.

“Along with our regional allies, we have embarked on Mission 12+ for winning at least 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam in the 2024 general elections. These include the Muslim-dominated constituencies such as Dhubri,” Mr. Kalita told journalists at the State party headquarters.

Dhubri is currently represented by All India United Democratic Front chief and perfume baron, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal.

‘Allergic to the BJP’

Mr. Kalita, who represents the Rangiya Assembly constituency, concurred with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s view that the Miya community is allergic to the BJP and that it is futile to seek their votes. “It is true that the Miya people do not vote for us. We don’t need their votes either, but that does not mean we won’t maintain a relationship with them,” he said. “Why should we seek the votes of those who grab our land and lure our women away?” he asked.

But the State government has followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s outreach to minorities in ensuring that the Miya citizens do not lose out on beneficiary schemes and development in their areas, he said. “Like the Prime Minister, we believe India can be a great nation if we take everyone along on the path of development,” Mr. Kalita added.

He also said that the Assam unit of the BJP is playing a crucial role for the party in the three election-bound northeastern States: Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. “We are confident of retaining power in these three States, on our own or in alliance with like-minded parties,” he added.

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