Kafeel Khan, the doctor turned activist who was jailed by the Yogi government, met Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to thank her for support and assistance. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu and the party’s state minority cell’s chief Shahnawaz Alam were also present during the meeting.
In the last few months Priyanka Gandhi has used Khan to target the Muslim vote bank which has slipped to regional parties in the last few decades. Muslims have started voting for regional parties in most of the states- AIUDF in Assam, TMC in West Bengal, JD(U) and RJD in Bihar, SP and BSP in Uttar Pradesh, AIMIM in Telangana, IUML in Kerala and so on- given the higher chances these parties have to defeat BJP.
Priyanka Gandhi came out in open support of Kafeel Khan to show that Congress remains the only party which cares for the Muslims of the country. In fact, she provided assistance to Khan’s family to move to Rajasthan from Uttar Pradesh, as the state has a Congress government. Khan himself said that his family would feel safe in the state as it has a Congress government.
To make Khan a full fledged celebrity activist like Arundhati Roy or Medha Patkar, the party has allegedly encouraged Khan to take his case to United Nations Human Rights Commission (it is a different matter that nobody listens to UNHRC, although, it will bring Khan in attention of left-liberal media establishment). Khan has written to UNHRC informing them about “widespread violations of international human right standards in India and misuse of draconian laws like NSA and UAPA to suppress dissent.”
The upcoming Bihar election would be the first where Congress would capitalize on Kafeel Khan to snatch Muslims votes from JD(U). The Muslims of Bihar vote for Nitish Kumar in large numbers- despite their alliance with BJP- given the development work his government has done for the community.
In the Bihar assembly election, Congress would bank on the Muslim voters who constitute 17 percent of the state’s population and have huge turnout. The Muslims in the state already vote for RJD-Congress alliance in large numbers but also vote for JD(U). For example, In Kishanganj, a Muslim majority Lok Sabha constituency of the state, the Congress candidate won the 2019 general election with 33 percent votes but the JD(U) candidate also got 30 percent of votes.
The Lok Sabha constituency constitutes 6 Vidhan Sabha and if Muslims vote for the RJD-Congress alliance in higher numbers and do not go with JD(U), the party could win all the 6 constituencies.
So, to ensure complete loyalty of Muslims towards Congress and its allies, Priynaka Gandhi is using Kafeel Khan as a prop. By creating an icon out of him, the party wants to grab 18 percent Muslim voters across the country for Bihar assembly election.
Although this is not going to harm BJP because it does not rely on Muslims votes anyway, but would certainly harm other regional parties like SP, BSP, TMC, TRS, AIMIM, IUML, JD(U) and many other regional parties which have been able to grab Muslims vote bank from the Congress party in the last few decades.