Malappuram: Immediately after election commission announced the local body election in state a week ago, local leadership of Bharathiy Janatha Party(BJP) in Vandur of Malappuram district began searching for a deserving candidate to field in ward 6 of Vandur grama panchayat where party has no strong presence.

It was a big surprise for the party when Sulfath T P(Sulu), a young woman hailing from a traditional Muslim family in the ward came up expressing interest to contest in Shanthinagar ward of the panchayat, under the banner of BJP. As party has unanimously supported her candidature she will file her nomination papers on Wednesday.

According to Sulfath, who was married off at the age of 15, she was inspired by the strong stand taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP on minimum marriageable age of girls and triple talaq ban.

Sulfath, who is a mother of two children, has already started her election campaign directly visiting houses across the ward seeking support from people belonging to all parties.

“The ward is not a strong hold of BJP.  BJP had fielded its candidate for the first in the previous local body poll in the ward and it was not a sincere attempt from the part of the party. Even the party members were not ready to highlight their positive side. But this time I want to aggressively campaign for BJP highlighting welfare projects implemented by the NDA government. I don’t mind whether I will win or not. But I want to highlight that BJP is the best alternative for UDF and LDF in Kerala,” Sulfath said.

“A section of people in Kerala believes that BJP is anti-Muslim. It is not right. I have observed politics of different parties for the last many years. Nothing was wrong with BJP. They have taken steps to ban triple talaq which strengthens Muslim women. BJP’s policy supporting increase of marriageable age was another major positive move.  If I were not married off at a very young,  I would have been able to study further and earn a secure a government job,” said Sulfath who is currently running a used-vehicle business.

“There is no corruption at the centre. Farmers are receiving financial aids directly through their accounts. So I think I have to support BJP’s politics. I don’t mind the final outcome of this election. If any person in Kerala joins BJP inspired by my candidature that would be a victory,” she added.

Talking to YesPost, Sulfath said that Modi is the best ever prime minister of India as he is bold and determined to implement welfare projects and to stop corruption. “I had noticed various welfare measures during Vajpayee government. But, I was truly attracted to BJP due to Narendra Modi, who has no real opponent in Indian politics. The campaign against BJP and Modi in Kerala by a section of people is baseless. They are misleading people even on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which would not be harmful for Muslim people of the country,” she said.

Sulfath said that her family including husband and four brothers, who are active workers of LDF and UDF, did not oppose or support her decision to contest under the banner of BJP. “We are enjoying individual freedom in the family. So, I have freedom to go ahead with my own decision,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sulfath said that, some local leaders of different political parties had approached her demanding to withdraw her candidature. “Many have secretly approached me asking to revoke the decision to contest in election, offering positions and money. But, I don’t want money or positions, as i was born in a wealthy family and I have the ability to make money doing business. My effort is to promote BJP’s politics,” Sulfath said.

Sulfath said she is expecting support only from the part of a large number of young voters of the ward which is a sitting seat of LDF. “It would be difficult to get support from married women of the ward as they cannot take their own independent stand and are the tools in the hands of their husbands, majority of whom are BJP opponents. But I am hopeful that I can increase vote share with the support of young voters including women this time,” she said.

Ravi Thelath, Malappuram district president of BJP said that the candidature of a Muslim woman would give a boost to the party’s prospect not only in the panchayat, but across the state. “It is not the first time that a person from Muslim community is contesting for the party. Party has many Muslim leaders across the district and many of them had contested in assembly and local body elections. But, the candidature of a Muslim woman, which is first time in the history of party in Malappuram, signals that ban of Muthalaque and party’s stand on minimum marriageable age have made positive impact even among Muslim women in the district. It can be considered as a remarkable change in the mindset of voters,” said Ravi.