Ahead of the Assam Assembly polls slated for later this year, State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would not get any seats in areas dominated by Miya Muslims as they do not vote for the BJP.
'Miya Muslims' did not vote for us in Panchayat and 2014 Lok Sabha polls, said Sarma, citing his past experience.
"Miya Muslims don't vote for us (BJP), I am saying this on the basis of experience. They didn't vote for us in Panchayat and 2014 Lok Sabha polls. BJP will not get votes in the seats that are in their (Miya Muslims) hands, while other seats are ours," Sarma told reporters on Saturday.
Gearing up for the Assembly elections, he added, "We will field our candidates in those (Miya Muslims) seats so that people who do not identify themselves with 'Miya Muslims' get an option to vote for lotus (BJP's symbol) or elephant (Asom Gana Parishad's symbol)." The Assembly polls are likely to take place in the April-May time frame for 126 Assembly seats.
It is to be noted that the term 'Miya' is, in its original usage, a derogatory slur used to refer to the descendants of Bengali Muslims who were brought to Assam during British colonisation of the state in the 19th-century. Eventually, the colloquial usage of the term expanded to refer to all Bengali Muslims who arrived in Assam from 1947 till date.
The term was later reappropriated by a group of poets who began asserting their identities, and it now appears in serious discourse.
(With inputs from ANI)