Triple Talaq in 2017, marriage law in 2021: action replay of BJP’s winning scenario in Uttar Pradesh?

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It was the promise to end the practice of Triple Talaq with which the BJP traveled to town in the 2017 legislative elections in Uttar Pradesh, before securing a record-breaking victory. This time, an action replay with a similar problem began – the pledge to raise the minimum age of marriage for all women from 18 to 21.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath raised the topic in Prayagraj on Tuesday, with the prime minister saying everyone knew who was blocking the bill. The bill, which will apply uniformly to all religions but will take time to bear fruit as it is now submitted to a standing committee of Parliament, is already a big problem within the Muslim community in Uttar. Pradesh. The Samajwadi party is in the process of forming itself over this, with two of its Muslim deputies from Lok Sabha criticizing the decision while party leader Akhilesh Yadav supported him.

In 2017, when the BJP-led alliance won 325 of 403 seats in the state assembly, the party also performed well in many Muslim-majority constituencies. In fact, he won over 100 seats where Muslims made up 20-33% of the electorate. Bahujan Samaj party leader Mayawati even questioned the BJP’s performance in Muslim-majority seats, asking if electronic voting machines (EVMs) had been hacked. The BJP’s victories in constituencies like Deoband, Moradabad and Phoolpur Pawai against Muslim candidates from other parties raised the possibility that some Muslim women voted for.

READ ALSO | Evenly increasing the age of marriage is welcome, but… writes Zakia Soman who led the battle against Triple Talaq

While one of the reasons for this could have been the Centre’s social assistance programs like Ujjwala, free toilets and housing, reaching women in all communities, one theory was that Muslim women were being courted by the promise of BJP to pass a law against Triple Talaq. The prime minister and then justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad openly said a law would be passed. The BJP finally did it in 2019.

“The marriage bill could have a similar impact on voters,” a senior UP BJP official told News18.

First, some Muslim women might support the BJP as it is a female-friendly move and raises the minimum age for marriage to 21, down from just 15, as is widely followed among Muslims, a- he declared. “Second, the bill sends a broader message to the majority community that the law will level all religions on the issue and that discrimination is removed,” said the leader.

The BJP state is already planning to include this issue in its campaign in a major way, after the PM and CM mentioned it. Akhilesh Yadav, who previously criticized the Triple Talk stage and said it would be used as “a weapon against minorities,” surprisingly supported the decision to raise the marriage age for women to 21, saying his party has always supported the empowerment of women. He also dissociated himself from statements by his two Lok Sabha MPs, Shafiqur Rehman Barq and ST Hasan, who criticized the legislation.

The BJP believes that the division in the ranks of the opposition over the bill will soon emerge, which will work in its favor. The ruling party received strong support from female voters in Uttar Pradesh both in the 2017 state elections and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, mostly in the area of ​​public order and government regimes. welfare. With both the SP and Congress targeting women this time around, the marriage law could be the BJP’s new weapon in its arsenal to retain voters.

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