Kerala Local Body Elections: In a First, BJP Fields Two Muslim Women Candidates in Malappuram
Image for representation.
The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has fielded two Muslim women to contest the local body elections from Malappuram, the only Muslim-majority district in the state.
The state BJP is thrilled to have TP Sulfath and Ayisha Hussain contest the election under its banner in the district which will be held on December 14. Sulfath filed her nomination for the Wandoor grama panchayat from Ward 6 (Shanti-Koottambara) while Ayisha filed her nomination on Thursday for the Ponmundam grama panchayat from Ward 9.
Unlike Sulfath, Ayisha comes from a political background with her husband Hussain Varikkottil being a district committee member of the BJP Minority Morcha. Varikkottil is also contesting the Malappuram district panchayat from the Edarikode division under the BJP banner. Ayisha, a mother of 10-year-old and a fan of veteran BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is also is a first-timer in the polls.
Sulfath admires PM Modi for encouraging women participation in politics. "He recognised the issues facing women and his policies would empower women," she said. She also said the progressive policies followed by the BJP had attracted her to the saffron party. "Who else than Modi could implement such progressive measures such as banning triple talaaq and raising marriageable age for women? There is no one else in current Indian politics to match Modiji not only in charisma but also in capability and determination," she told News18.
Hailing from a conservative Muslim household, Sulfath is convinced PM Modi’s stand will result in the emancipation of fellow Muslim women in the country.
“As a child, my dream was to get a good job in the government sector. However, I got married when I was in Class X. Then I was barely 15. Hence, I couldn’t fulfil my aspiration. Similarly, many of my friends lost out on the chance to pursue higher education. Increasing the minimum legal age for women to marry from 18 to 21 will encourage many, especially those belonging to the Muslim community, to pursue higher education and get a better living,” she said. Sulfath is getting fans and youngsters have started approaching her for selfies.
Mother of two children, Sulfath prefers to be self-reliant by engaging in a variety of businesses including real estate and also runs a showroom for pre-used cars.
Though the party offered Sulfath a district panchayat division, she chose her own grama panchayat. However, she is pragmatic about the result as her party has a weak base in the area. “My candidature is to drive home a message that the BJP is a safe party. We need a third alternative from United Democratic Front (The Congress-led alliance) and the Left Democratic Front (The CPM-led alliance). It will help us to end the 'adjustment politics' being played by these two fronts,” she said.
Sulfath said while she has decided to undertake a political position, she does not want to bring her family in such discussions.