The BJP and the RSS are going all out to reach out to the Muslims in Kerala. The state unit of the RSS is keen on forming an exclusive Muslim outfit in the state, on the lines of the MRM (Muslim Rashtriya Manch).
Sources in the RSS said that there is an urgent need to win the confidence of the Muslim community in Kerala. Said P. Gopalankutty Master, state secretary of the RSS, to THE WEEK: “Though a final decision in this regard has not been taken, Muslim leaders in the BJP want the RSS and the BJP to clear false impressions about them among Muslims in Kerala. The Muslim body of the RSS is active in north Indian states. Kerala doesn’t have one, yet. We will establish it soon.”
Said Ali Akbar, a prominent Muslim face of the BJP and film personality, to THE WEEK, “It is wrong to say that Muslims in Kerala don’t like the BJP. I contested on a BJP ticket from Koduvally assembly constituency near Kozhikode, which has a large number of Muslims. But I still polled around 11,000 votes. The CPI(M) and the Congress are trying to alienate Muslims from the BJP, but they will not succeed.”
Akbar said that the Sunni and the Sufi sects, among Muslims in Kerala, have no problems with the BJP and the RSS. “It is the hardliners in the community who are creating problems and painting a negative image of the BJP and the RSS.” Akbar said that it was a good move on the part of the RSS to form an exclusive body for Muslims in the state.
Leaders at the national level, too, want more Muslims to join the BJP and the RSS in Kerala. Said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union minister of minority affairs, to THE WEEK: "I am not aware of a Muslim organisation being floated by the RSS in Kerala. But, as far as the BJP is concerned, we are for everyone, including Muslims. Every section of society in Kerala should come closer to the BJP and the RSS and be a part of India’s growth.”
Muslim leaders in the state, though, don’t think much of the RSS’s plans. Said P.K. Kunhalikutty, former state minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader, to THE WEEK, “The RSS’s plans won’t work out in Kerala. Such a front will never come into existence. People here are educated and can differentiate between the good and the bad. They cannot be taken for a ride.”