Rajkot: If newly elected corporator Babi Sama is to be believed, Muslims of Gujarat are shedding their antipathy to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The first Muslim woman to be elected on BJP ticket in the just held municipal corporation elections, Sama is convinced that there is a change of heart in the Muslim community.
"This is happening not just in my ward but all over the state," Sama told IANS after scoring an emphatic win here. "Muslims are moving towards the BJP."
She credits the development to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"It is mainly because of the chief minister. I have also not encountered any ill-will nor has my husband who has been with the BJP for 15 years. We have been comfortable in the party of our choice all along," she said.
Sama is considered a star in the BJP`s spectacular show in six major cities of Gujarat in elections to municipal corporations that took place Sunday.
Sama, 43, is the wife of Habib Sama, a two-term general secretary of the BJP minority cell of Rajkot city. They have four children -- three sons and a daughter.
"The people have voted overwhelmingly for Chief Minister Narendra Modi," she said, crediting him with the state`s economic and infrastructure development.
Sama was elected from ward 18 of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation in the Jungleshwar-Rukhadiapura area.
She says that in earlier years, fellow Muslims would chide them for not working for the Congress -- the community`s traditional first choice in politics.
Over the years, as she and her husband came to be identified as the Muslim face of the BJP in Gujarat, opinions began to change.
"A stage has now been reached where the development oriented initiatives of Narendra Modi are drawing the Muslim community towards the party." she said.
According to Sama, both Hindus and Muslims desire development. When they see it happening, people are likely to be drawn towards the party behind it.
"Chief Minister Modi is a magnet in this regard who has mesmerized people with his hard work and people oriented governance," she said.
"Of the total 33,600 voters in our ward, almost 9,400 are Muslims. A fair number voted for the BJP this time," she says. The bulk voting helped her to defeat Manjulaben Hindoja of the Congress.