With an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh has initiated a strategic outreach programme aimed at engaging the state's Muslim community, as reported by Indian Express.
The party's minority department has already commenced implementing various programmes as part of this outreach effort.
Shahnawaz Alam, President of the Uttar Pradesh Congress minority department, unveiled a series of upcoming events as part of the engagement plan.
These initiatives include demonstrations addressing the issue of unpaid salaries for madrassa teachers on 21 October, and a programme honouring Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar on his birth anniversary on 24 October.
Additionally, on 25 October, retired government officials will be recognised in each district to commemorate the birth anniversary of former Rajasthan chief minister Barkatullah Khan.
These events aim to acknowledge the historical Muslim leadership in the country and reclaim political space for the Muslim community.
He also questioned the absence of a Muslim chief minister in Uttar Pradesh, despite a significant Muslim population constituting around 20 per cent of the state's populace.
Alam emphasised that the Congress, being a national-level party, is the most viable contender to challenge the BJP, and the goal is to make Muslims aware of this fact and encourage their support.
Discreet meetings have been organised by the Congress minority department over the past several months, aimed at bringing individuals from various political backgrounds together.
These gatherings aim to reach people from different classes and castes.
Additionally, the party plans to initiate "Chai ke saath, Congress ki baat" gatherings to emphasise the Congress's commitment to safeguarding the Constitution and the country's secular nature.
In recent years, Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh have predominantly supported the Samajwadi Party (SP) in both the 2022 Assembly polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress leadership is confident that by effectively conveying the right message to the Muslim community, they can gain their acceptance and potentially secure an advantage in the 2024 polls, highlighting that "only the Congress can effectively challenge the BJP on a national level."
Ajay Rai, president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress, asserts that minorities in the state are increasingly aligning with the Congress party due to its credibility and commitment to minority communities.
Imran Masood, a senior Muslim leader in western Uttar Pradesh, has recently rejoined the Congress party through the Bahujan Samaj Party and SP, providing a significant boost to the party's prospects.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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