Published On:01 October 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

UP ELECTIONS: Strategic voting by Muslims worries BJP

By Mohammad Shahid Parvez

Come elections and all political parties suddenly wake up to the plight of Muslims – their poverty, illiteracy and overall backwardness – and vie each other in promising moon to the community if voted to power. But once the elections are over and government is formed the community is forgotten and left to its fate. This is the story repeated in all elections since Independence and the forthcoming UP Assembly elections are no exception. As the election time draws closer all parties employ various tactics to get the favour of the community. What to say of the so called secular parties — BSP, SP and Congress — even the communal BJP responsible for the demolition of Babri Masjid and genocide of innocent Muslims in Gujarat is organizing Muslim Swabhiman (Self respect) Conference in the state capital on October 3 to convey the message that the party is ready to fight for the cause of the community and is concerned, more than any secular party, for its welfare. The state president of the minority front of the party Shafaat Hussain said that the BJP was the only party faithful to Muslims. All others have used the community only as votebank.

What kind of faithfulness is Mr. Hussain talking about only he can understand. However, the real motive behind the conference as a national leader of the party put it is to soften the attitude of the community towards the saffron party and break their resolve to defeat the party candidate at any cost. The leader said “We know that Muslims do not like us and will not vote for us as they vote for SP, BSP and Congress. Our effort will be to stop the community from resorting to strategic voting in the elections which harms the party most.” The BJP leader said that in the conference the party would give clarification on the cap episode during Modi’s sadbhavna fast that has alienated the community further with it.

The BJP leader, though belongs to an anti-Muslim party, has spoken some truth and has given some food for thought to the Muslim community particularly its leaders. It is true that the so called secular parties have used the community only as vote bank and exploited it by raising the specter of Sangh Parivar to serve their own interests.The Congress which remained in power at the Centre and in states for the longest period and got full support of Muslims gave in return the wounds of Maliana, Bhagalpur and Bombay riots and many more and finally the demolition of Babri Masjid. SP and BSP, specially the former which became the centre of the community’s hopes too gave only unfulfilled promises. Adding insult to injury the two parties did not hesitate in hobnobbing with communal forces throwing all the principles and policies of secularism to the winds while at the same time ignoring the sentiments of the community which supported them. Thus while Mayawati allied with the BJP twice to form government in UP and campaigned for Modi after the Gujarat genocide of Muslims, Mulayam Singh Yadav ditched the community to align with Kalyan Singh, the villain of the demolition of
Babri Masjid.

Feeling cheated and neglected Muslim decided to resort to strategic voting in elections by which they aimed to defeat BJP and in the process vote for any candidate who was in a position to humble the saffron outfit irrespective of his party affiliation. The strategy worked. On the one hand it gave a message to the secular parties that Muslim votes could not be taken for granted while on the other hand it hit the saffron party where it hurt the most as is evident from the statement of the BJP leader.

The strategy, though successful, is defensive and cannot be continued indefinitely without harming the interest of the community. It can ensure the defeat of BJP but not victory for Muslims. The community should contest to win. This requires a positive strategy whereby communal forces are defeated and secular outfits are forced to heed the grievances of the community. For this our leaders will have to sacrifice their self-interests and egos and instead of every one ploughing his own furrow come together and jointly address the issues facing the community. Once this is achieved they will be in a position to bargain with secular parties proportionate representation in assemblies and parliament and at decision making levels. But this is not as easy as said. However, some beginning somewhere will have to be made. Till then strategic polling in the elections can continue.

[Mohammad Shahid Parvez is former News Editor, National Herald, Lucknow. He recently joined IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Uttar Pradesh). He can be contacted at mshahidparvez@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on October 01, 2011. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on October 01, 2011. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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