On 11th March 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party got a historic mandate in Uttar Pradesh by winning 325 seats and wiped out the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance that won only 54 seats. Even though the party is yet to announce its Chief Minister face, the bigger question that looms over the top brass is – who will be the minister in charge of Minority Welfare and Haj. Currently, Azam Khan is the chairperson of Haj Division of Ministry of Minority Welfare of Uttar Pradesh but since the Samajwadi Party has lost the election, he will have to soon leave the position.
Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party didn’t field a single Muslim candidate in the state and even though they have 325 sitting MLAs in the assembly now, there is no front-runner for this job. In this year’s election, 24 Muslim MLAs won out of which 17 are from the Samajwadi party, five are from the BSP, and two from the Congress. Even though the senior BJP leaders have said that Muslims will be getting a higher representation in the party, they haven’t cleared as to how they plan to achieve that.
You may also want to watch:
This equation is particularly interesting in the case of UP as Haj division in responsible for 20 percent population of the state which is the highest Muslim population in one state of the country. Over the years, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Najma Heptullah have been the face of BJP’s minority representation but both of them are already holding important positions already. Earlier this week, there were rumours that party may consider bringing someone from the legislative council after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself said, “BJP government will work on Samta and Samanta, will work towards realising a vision for New India. The party is driven by the philosophy of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas.”
However, if BJP decides not to bring someone from outside and nominate one of the existing members, things may turn out very interesting. In that case, the party will have no option but to give the charge of Minority Welfare and Haj to a Hindu candidate. The people of Uttar Pradesh have given a thumbs up to BJP’s ideology by voting for their candidates but it will be interesting to see if they are ready to accept them in a greater role.