Making a strategically significant step, the BJP has for the first time in the election history of Kerala picked two Muslim women candidates to contest under their banner in the coming local body polls in Malappuram district.
This unprecedented entry of Muslim candidates as BJP nominees has been a shot in the arm for the party cadres in the Muslim-predominant Malappuram district, a citadel of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
Though several male candidates belonging to the Muslim community are in the fray representing the saffron party in the civic elections, there are only two women candidates from the community contesting as its candidates with the Lotus symbol in Malappuram.
While Wandoor-native T P Sulfath is contesting from ward 6 of Wandoor grama panchayat, Ayisha Hussain, native of Chemmad is contesting in ward 9 of the Ponmudam grama panchayat.
Both said they have their own reasons for becoming nominees of the BJP.
While Sulfath was impressed with the ‘progressive’ policies of the BJP government at the Centre that has made the fortunes of the Muslim women in the country change for better, Ayisha Hussain has political affinity towards the BJP owing to her husband’s affiliation with it.
It is the recent policies introduced by the Modi government, which made a larger impact on Muslim women that fascinated Sulfath.
“The banning of triple talaq and raising the age for women for marriage from 18 to 21 were the two major policies that influenced me.
These are bold measures towards the welfare of the Muslim women. Only Modi would dare to do such milestone actions,” Sulfath felt.
Mother of two children, Sulfath got married at the age of 15.
As a woman who suffered the pain and miseries of getting married in the teenage was so fascinated by the policy revision made by the central government that would help the Muslim women in a big way, she said.
Though Sulfath had a dream to get educated and earn a government job, an early-age marriage put a full stop to her studies in class 10.
Actively engaged in the family business of automobiles and real estate, Sulfath is now hoping for an upset win in her ward.
Ayisha Hussain has been attracted to the BJP through her husband Hussain, who is an active member of the Minority Morcha, an arm of the BJP.
Mother of a 10-year old girl, Ayisha supports the pro-Muslim women progressive policies introduced by the Narendra Modi government.
“I support Modiji and BJP for their bold policies for the welfare of the country,” said Ayisha.
Ayisha’s husband Hussain Varikottil is also contesting under the BJP banner from the Edarikode division of the Malappuram district panchayat.
Though it has a weak base in the IUML bastion of Malappuram, the candidature of the two Muslim women would matter much to the saffron party, which has been making all efforts to attract the Muslim community to the party to negate its popular image of a Hindu-oriented organisation.