Muslim woman to head BJP's minority wing

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For the first time, a Muslim woman has become the head of a wing other than the women's wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party in UP.

Among the new office-bearers, whose names were announced on Saturday, Rumana Siddiqui, a housewife, is president of the minority wing of the party.

Except the women's wing, which is always headed by a woman, the BJP has never had a woman heading any of its four other wings which include the Kisan morcha, SC/ST morcha, youth morcha and minority morcha. Besides, the party has 31 cells and none of them was ever headed by a woman.

Rumana has replaced Shahafat Hussain, who was appointed president of the minority wing by former state president Surya Pratap Shahi.

Party sources said the idea behind Rumana's appointment was to reach out to Muslim families through their female members. Wife of a businessman in Lucknow, Rumana is associated with the BJP since 2004 and was secretary of the minority wing about five years back. She is also a member of the national executive of the party's minority wing.

Rumana admits that associating Muslims with the party has always been a challenge for the BJP. "But being a woman, I can approach the women in the kitchens of Muslim families where men cannot go. I will convince Muslim women and other family members that BJP is their well-wisher and they should support the party in the next Lok Sabha election," Rumana said.

A graduate in political science from Delhi University, Rumana will soon form her team and prepare a list of activities that the minority wing will perform to attract Muslims to the party.

"I am still receiving good wishes from party leaders and workers. I have held positions in the past also but this is the first time I am receiving such a huge response," she said.

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