Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) has fielded as many as five Muslim candidates, of whom two are women, in Varanasi where the urban local polls will be held on Sunday. The task of the two women candidates is to convince people that ‘development’ should matter and not communal considerations. One of the women candidates, Huma Bano is the party candidate for BJP from Madanpura’s Ward 37 – a seat reserved for OBC women – said that she joined BJP a decade ago and had to toil hard for the party to earn the ticket. She said she has been with the party when ‘BJP was not in power’, according to The Indian Express. “It is not easy getting a ticket. But my work, especially on sewerage development and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, fetched me this opportunity. When people from my community taunt me saying ‘did no one else give you a ticket’, I tell them to look at my work and vote accordingly,” said Huma Bano.
Huma is an art teacher who first contested election in 2006 civic polls from Ward 72 in Revri Talab but was unsuccessful. Huma Bano strongly condemned the reports of people asking Muslim women to take off their burqa. Bano said that burqa was their dress and identity and no one should ask them to take it off. She asserted that she has stood her ground every time anybody has asked her to take burqa off and the insisted that the guards at various meetings have allowed her, her supporters and her fellow candidates to enter while wearing burqa.
Huma said that Muslims in her area were educated and know whom to vote for. They are inclined to vote for BJP as it is in power in the state as well as at the Centre. BJP’s Varanasi secretary Ram Chandra told the paper that BJP has been lately fielding more Muslim women as a sign of ‘empowerment’ and they are also joining the party on their own volition as the party has put more focus on triple talaq.
The other Muslim woman candidate for the BJP party is Lubna Begum. She hails from Ward 64. Allahabad which will also go to polls on Sunday, 26-year-old Kamar Jahan is another such woman candidate for BJP. Kamar is quite confident of winning the polls as she informed that people are not looking at who are fielding candidates but at the work they are doing. Working for BJP, she has extensively campaigned on Swachh Bharat, and also the party has promised to deliver to widowed and retired people who are not receiving pension.
However, Allahabad general secretary Yogesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party has termed fielding of Muslim women a ‘political gimmick’ stressing that BJP wants to divide and rule. According to the report filed by Express, Yogesh said that if BJP wants to empower Muslim women then why not come with uniform law, speaking on the triple talaq he suggested that number of women given triple talaq was minuscule and the BJP was trying to unite the entire Muslim community on the same.