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Why BJP went for inclusive politics in Kashmir and Kerala | India News

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NEW DELHI: While ballot is being cast in Kashmir for the penultimate phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections, votes are being counted in Kerala for the civic polls on Wednesday. At both these places, the BJP has experimented with inclusive politics.
In Kashmir, where Muslims are in a majority, the BJP has sent senior party leaders for campaigning. On the other hand, in Jammu, where Hindus are in a majority, the Hindus leaders are canvassing for the party candidates.
According to the 2001 census, the Kashmir Valley had a population of 54.77 lakh. While Muslims constituted 97.16 percent of the total population in the Valley, Hindus were a mere 1.84 percent.
In the Jammu region, the total population according to the 2001 census was 44.30 lakh, out of which Muslims constituted 30.69 percent while Hindus were 65.23 percent.
Former Union minister and BJP’s national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain has been camping in the Kashmir Valley for the past 25-odd days and campaigning in favour of the party candidates.
Union minority welfare minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also campaigned for the BJP candidates in the Kashmir Valley though he did not camp there.
In Jammu, where Hindus are in a majority, Union ministers including Smriti Irani and Jitendra Singh canvassed for the BJP candidates.
The DDC elections, which started on November 20, are being held in eight phases. Six phases are already over. The last phase of polling is on December 19. Counting of votes would take place on December 22.
The elections are significant as they are being held for the first time after Article 370 was nullified in December 2019.
The same trend was witnessed in Kerala as well. The BJP banked upon its Christian and Muslim leaders for the civic elections.
The BJP deputed three of its leaders from Kerala itself and all belonging to the minority communities – national vice-president AP Abdullakutty, a Muslim; and national spokesperson Tom Vadakkan and Rajya Sabha MP KJ Alphons, both Christians.
According to the 2011 census, 54.73 per cent of Kerala’s population is Hindu, 26.56 per cent Muslim while 18.38 percent Christian. Christians and Muslims together constitute 45 per cent of the total population while the remaining 55 per cent are Hindus.
Moreover, in an unprecedented development, the BJP put up over 600 Muslim and Christian candidates – 112 Muslims and 500 Christians – for the panchayat, municipalities and corporarion elections which were held on December 8, 10 and 14.
The three leaders said the outreach to the minorities was to send across a signal that the BJP is a national inclusive party, to shoot down the alleged propaganda of the Congress and the Left parties that the minorities will not support it, to respect the sentiments of the Muslim and Christian community leaders for contesting these elections and to expand its base in the southern state which faces assembly election in the next six months.

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