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Home > News > Report

Why Mohammad Shafi Mansuri will vote for Modi

Sheela Bhatt in Bhiloda | December 15, 2007 01:46 IST

Mohammad Shafi Mansuri
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Gujarat Votes, 2007
Mohammad Shafi Mansuri is an arts graduate who runs a Vodafone agency in the tribal town of Bhiloda, located at the foothills of Aravalii hills, in Gujarat's Sabarkantha district. What sets apart Mansuri is the fact that he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party just two years ago and is presently the general secretary of the party's minority cell in Bhiloda.

When queried why he joined the BJP, Mansuri simply said, "I am a nationalist and I thought it fit to join the BJP."

Here is Mansuri's first person account, where he explains why he will vote for Narendra Modi [Images], even when the Gujarat chief minister is using 'communalism' to win the elections.

"I joined the Bhartiya Janata Party because I am a nationalist. I believe that if all the Hindus living in India become communal, it will be impossible for Muslims to live in India. But I am 100 per cent sure that it is not possible. I am confident that in India, 95 per cent of Hindus and Muslims will always remain secular. Only when you see things through the prism of politics, you notice communalism, otherwise we are doing fine.

The Mumbai riots took place during the Congress government's tenure. The mob even reached the residence of actor Dilip Kumar [Images]. Who was responsible for those riots then? Still, Muslims join the Congress.

When the post-Godhra riots took place, the BJP was in power in Gujarat. So, why can't I join the BJP?

Riots have taken place during the regime of the Congress as well as the BJP, so why isolate the latter? My close friend influenced me to join the BJP. Even if I had joined the Gujarat Congress, I don't think the condition of Muslims would have improved.

I used to have a lot of debates with my friends about politics. I joined the BJP on the basis of my understanding of communalism and nationalism. The Congress hasn't done anything good for Muslims in Gujarat, nor is it going to do anything for us. The Congress is incapable of preventing the polarisation of Hindus and Muslims.

After the Babri Masjid demolition, the BJP came to power at the Centre because the Congress failed to keep its secular flame burning. Modi is communal, but he is an efficient administrator. According to me, if Modi keeps aside communalism, he is the best ruler.

Modi uses communalism only during elections. In the last five years, we haven't faced riots. Muslims have had no problems whatsoever in the last five years. Modi is only indulging in the business of communalism to trade communalism for votes. The politics of Gujarat is such that if they don't use communalism, Modi can't return to power.

If he decided to talk only about development, then he would have faced anti-incumbency. My own shop was burnt down in the riots of 2002. I have suffered a lot during the riots. I lost goods worth Rs 1.5 lakh. But I have earned more than enough to recover my losses.

We are living a comfortable life here. I am happier now than I was in 2001. This is only possible because I don't brand the communal mob as 'Hindus'. That was merely a 'communal crowd' and not the 'Hindu community.'

We will never leave Bhiloda because my relationship with the society here is excellent. Our children do face communal tension because in Gujarat a large number of school teachers have a communal mindset or they have connections with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

During Bakri Id, Hindu boys do tease Muslim girls and call them Pakistanis. Our girls simply ignore them. My uncle Bhikha bhai Mansuri feels sad as he is still affected by his suffering during the riots. But I don't feel depressed because I understand the BJP.

You have to look at Muslims and Hindus differently. The poison of communalism cannot go away overnight. This poison of communalism is being spread since the last 15 years by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the RSS.

I also believe that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and Sonia Gandhi's [Images] speeches were written without doing any home work. They have no clue about Gujarat.

Of course I will vote for BJP in this election."