47-year-old Sameena Raza BJP’s candidate from Qurest Nagar ward for the upcoming civic polls in the national capital has ignited considerable interest because of her unique positioning as a Muslim woman from the Pasmanda community.
Driven to politics by her desire to make a difference in the lives of Muslim women, this cosmetics entrepreneur wants to end the social and economic backwardness of women in her community. “The women of our community do not venture out of their homes. I belong to a Muslim family. My objective is to work towards better education of Muslim women so they can step out in the world and become more aware. They should know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. I just want to create more awareness among women of the Muslim Community,” she tells The New Indian.
At the outset she comes across as a demure housewife who is still taking nascent steps in public life. But her resume defies her reticent personality, as this correspondent finds out.
A 12th grade pass out, Sameena successfully runs her entrepreneurial venture of cosmetics. She is recognised in the area as a social worker who has worked for women empowerment.
While she is married into a family of social workers and political activists, Raza herself has been working as a BJP cadre for over two decades while successfully running her entrepreneurial venture of cosmetics.
In her career as a political activist for the past few years, she has worked relentlessly to bring women in her community into the BJP fold. “My focus has been to expose the misinformation spread among Muslim women by Congress and other opposition parties against BJP. I have been making Muslim women aware of of the benefits of banning “teen talakh” and abrogation of Article 370 – the Pro-Muslim decisions taken by the BJP,” she writes in her candidature application.
On the perception of BJP’s anti-minority image she says, “I come from a Pasmanda muslim family. And despite that I’ve been given the chance to fight polls. BJP does not discriminate on the basis of religion. Be it Hindu or Muslim, they mean the same for party.”
Her late father-in-law Abid Raza has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak for a long time. Her husband Mazahir Raza an active member of BJP’s minority wing, pointed out that PM Modi’s government has launched several schemes for the betterment of the Muslim community.
Quresh Nagar segment has more than 29 percent of Muslims – around 28,000 out of 50,000 total voters. Out of the total Muslim population in the ward, around 15,000 are Pasmandas.