The Muslims largely felt dejected due to indifferent attitude of the state’s mainstream parties yet they voted to them in absence of formidable choice to defeat the BJP…
New Delhi: BJP’s impassioned attempt to vitiate the atmosphere has not worked yet as the Muslims have grown smarter and have learnt how to respond – meaning silence – to the hate slurs hurled on them round the clock not only by right wing leaders but, more disturbingly, by the dominant section of television media also, said Saharanpur resident Asif Khan, who worked as a journalist for nearly a decade before practicing law in a lower court there. He said that the Muslims, who constitute the state’s 18 per cent population, do not want to “carry forward the ideals of secularism” at the expense of their socio-political marginalisation.
The Muslims seem to have learnt the art of presenting themselves in the increasing politico-media complex scenario. Walk into the Muslim localities in Lucknow suburbs or the dark dingy alleys and lanes of Kanpur, their concerns can be communicated in one sentence: We hate BJP but don’t love other political parties either. All the political parties think about their core caste groups they represent and that Muslims do not come into their scheme of thinking, observed Qasim Syed who ran a daily Urdu newspaper, Roznama Khabrein. This is what prompted Asaduddin Owaisi, chief of All India Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), to take a plunge. However, Syed said it would not spoil “their (Muslims) strategy” of backing the state party which is in the position to defeat the BJP.
Meanwhile, president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat (AIMMM), apex body of nearly a dozen of Muslim organization, Nawaid Hamid said, “We are not into the business of issuing any decree to support one party or other. Muslims, like other people, too have clear understanding of the situation and they will decided on their own.” Speaking on the approach of the ‘secular parties’, Hamid, however, said that Muslims had a “bad experience” during protests against the citizenship regime – Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) – when Muslims were left alone”.
“By fielding a widow of anti-CAA protestor, the Congress did show some vigour, but others are scared of sharing dais with Muslims or even uttering Muslim-sounding name,” said Meerut-based Md Salahuddin, whose brother was one of the 22 victims died during protests across state on December 20 and 21 in 2019, according the UP government’s compliance report in the Allahabad High Court. Owaisi’s effort to assert identity didn’t impress Shamsuddin either. He said, “Did Owaisi or his candidates come to meet us or support us? He tried to take political benefits only.”
Several political analysts believe that Muslims youth have been “pushed to the corner so much that they will rally around Owaisi’s party, but it doesn’t seem to reflect any change in the voting pattern of the community.
Maulana Mohammad Ahmad of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, who was deputed by the organisation to observe the poll scenario in the state, said, “Employment, health and education do not matter much for the local Muslims…They are more concerned about their safety and identity…I think people will largely vote for the Samajwadi Party even though in some pockets BSP too can get some mileage.” Since Muslim for various reasons do not get jobs, so employment promises by other political parties do not enthuse them, said Ahmad. Similarly, stray animals, law and order, crime against women and other such issues do not matter much for them in the interaction with most of the people Muslim Mirror spoke to. Besides, issues of mob lynching and citizenship matrix, they are hugely concerned over the increasing gap in the society and urged the sane-minded people to come forward to restore and protect the long-cherished tehzeeb of togetherness.