Cleric Tauqeer Raza Khan’s relative joins BJP

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Almost two weeks after Barelvi sect cleric Maulana Tauqeer Ahmed Raza Khan announced his support for the Congress, his brother’s daughter-in-law and women’s rights activist Nida Khan joined the BJP here on Sunday.

Nida is a victim of triple talaq — instant divorce practised by some Muslim men —  and runs an organisation in Bareilly that provides legal support to women who are divorced in this manner.

Nida joined the BJP at the party’s state headquarters in the presence of former state president and joining committee chief Laxmikant Bajpai. The activist recounted the various problems she faced when she approached the police seven years ago to register a case against her divorce.

Asked why she joined the ruling party, Nida said, “The BJP supported me. Further, during the BJP rule, the police’s view of women complainants has changed. There are helpdesks at every police station to help women. The BJP is going about ensuring women empowerment in a real sense.”

Nida said she had no plans to contest elections and had not yet discussed it with the party. A few BJP leaders said her entry into the party could help it counter the Opposition in western UP, where the alliance of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Congress are vying for Muslim votes.

The BJP is likely to get her to campaign in Muslim-majority constituencies that go to the polls in the first phase on February 10.

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