After being heavily criticised for not fielding a single Muslim candidate in the entire 403 assembly seats in UP, the party has inducted its first Muslim the state's cabinet - Mohsin Raza.
The former cricketer and winner of a beauty pageant was elected to the ministry as the lone Muslim member, after absence of a member from the community made ruckus.
Raza, who is also an actor, started his career in politics in the Congress party.
He became familiar in the party politics, after he got married to Sunni Fozia Sarwat Fatima, who belongs to a famous Muslim family with relations to the former BJP minister Najma Heptullah.
Raza practiced cricketing at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai and started representing his state in the Ranji Trophy.
He, along with his career in cricket, also tried a hand in beauty contests and acting.
Raza became a popular face in Lucknow after he appeared in the well-known Doordarshan serial “Neem Ka Ped”.
His, association with the Congress did not long last due to some internal issue within the party.
He left the Cell as he thought things are not going his way. He was not much interested in politics either but people put pressure on him to take it up. My brother’s appeal was unbeatable on the pitch – the crowd would come to see him, but now with this new responsibility he will do well here tooArshi Raza, brother of Mohsin Raza
In 2010, he started “Safipur Vikas Manch” campaign and joined BJP before 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
According to sources, he was considered for the post as he is having a good rapport with Rajnath Singh and his son Pankaj Singh.
Meanwhile, Raza's elevation as minister was criticised as a mere move from the BJP to appease Muslims.
Athar Hussain, a Muslim intellectual in Lucknow who is the director of Center for Objective Research and Development“core Hindutva”, said that Raza was elected only to satisfy the Muslim vote bank.
Raza is not from a big political background or involved in activism but he joined BJP before 2014. He is a common face in social circle of Lucknow. It seems Muslims have become a commodity, you love them or hate them, either way they are in discussion. They constitute 20 % of the population and their issues are as similar as other. They too think of education, health and employment. But in past years politics made them of a productAthar Hussain, a Muslim intellectual in Lucknow