In a move that is going to create an awkward situation for the four-time AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, BJP has fielded Muslim social worker and ABVP functionary Shahzadi Syed from Chandrayangutta Assembly constituency in Hyderabad to contest against the conservative leader.
The above-mentioned constituency is an AIMIM bastion, and the BJP is planning to give Owaisi, a tough competition this time. The fact remains that Bhartiya Janta Party since long, has been vocal about the rights of Muslim women especially, on sensitive issues such as Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala, and this has already generated support for BJP within the Muslim women. Now, the BJP has fielded a progressive Muslim social worker against Owaisi who is seen as a fundamentalist Muslim leader. This is going to create a wonderful opportunity for the BJP to consolidate its support base. Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala are the issues which had been blatantly ignored and it was the BJP which finally acted in order to bring justice to Muslim women.
Shahzadi Syed sounded confident of her victory and stated, “Muslims in the Old City are looking for a change.” She also stated that Muslims have moved beyond the orthodox tenets and will vote for jobs and development. She added, “AIMIM has failed to provide any of these in last few decades. I stand a good chance of winning.” A postgraduate in Political Science from Osmania University (OU), Shahzadi Syed hails from Adilabad district and moved to Hyderabad in 2014 after she joined OU.
Syed also praised ABVP as a progressive and democratic body and said, “I have been active in student politics after the movement for a separate state started in 2009. I have been part of ABVP. I think it is the most progressive and democratic student organisation and their idea of nationalism appealed to me. I have held several posts in the ABVP.” She also lauded the BJP for its secular tenets and stated, “Muslims used to mistake BJP as a staunch Hindu party. I feel that it is a secular and democratic party. Muslims have also started realising that… When I joined BJP, several Muslims congratulated me. This is the party that nominated a Muslim, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, to be the President of India. Prominent leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Sikandar Bhakt are with the BJP. I feel in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, at least 4 per cent Muslims voted for BJP.”
Shahzadi Syed’s candidature resonates with the manner in which the Saffron Party has sought to empower the Muslim women and it is believed that the pan-India party has, in turn, received their popular support. It is expected that in the upcoming elections, the BJP will be greatly benefitted by the support of Muslim women. It is expected that the Muslim women will come out in large numbers and vote in favour of the party that rescued them from misogynist stone age practices. Particularly, in Uttar Pradesh, it is expected that a large number of women will vote in favour of the BJP which will badly disturb the electoral equations of the pseudo-secular parties. The BJP has probably realised that this is a major factor at play. Therefore, this move of fielding a progressive Muslim woman leader against a regressive and patriarchal Muslim leader must essentially be seen in the light of the above-said phenomenon. This is bound to further the positive momentum generated in favour of the Saffron Party for its support to Muslim women.