President Ram Nath Kovind had sent a message by refusing to organize an Iftar party at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this year. The message was clear, India is a secular nation and the Rashtrapati Bhavan is not the place to organize religious functions for the VIPs on taxpayer’s money. President Kovind’s decision had been widely praised as he had followed the precedent set by former President APJ Abdul Kalam of not organizing grand Iftar parties in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Appeasement of minorities at the cost of taxpayers’ money is the forte of Congress and not the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress party has announced that it is going to organize a grand Iftar party for the opposition which it hopes to woo before the upcoming 2019 elections. Congress’s Iftar is likely to be a grand affair where leaders from political parties around India will congregate and discuss politics. BJP’s senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, has announced an Iftar party, and rightfully considering he is the Minority Affairs Minister in the centre. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s Iftar party is going to be vastly different with regard to the scale and attendees too. No political leaders have been invited to the Iftar party thrown by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the party is going to host only women, most of whom are victims of triple talaq.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s Iftar party is an attempt to show solidarity with the women belonging to the minority community. His approach shows that BJP is willing to stand behind the common problems faced by people belonging to every religion. This sends out a strong signal- that the BJP is not anti-minority but is rather all for a modern, reformed and forward looking version of the religion. It might not go down well with the clerics and other regressive elements but this is exactly what India needs- a more integrative and humane face of religion. While the Congress is going to host its party in a five star hotel with political leaders and spend the money received as contributions from people, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s Iftar party will be a simpler and more humane affair. BJP has time and again proved that it does not believe in minority appeasement but this is a far bigger statement from a Union Minister of the BJP government.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’ Iftar party will go down a long way in giving an assurance to the millions of oppressed and stifled women that there is a government/party is working for them. Of course some Maulvis and Maulanas are going to be miffed with this decision by the BJP MP but it does not make any difference as the women will get to experience firsthand the Iftar party and the hospitality and cordial equality that BJP stands for. The decision will also raise the issue of triple-talaq, a touchy topic for the Congress and other parties which had earlier gone against the decision to pass the bill. The bill is still pending in the Rajya Sabha, all thanks to the Congress and other opposition parties.