Published On:30 November 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

SPECIAL REPORT: Muslims persona non grata in Modiland

[The much-hyped Sadbhavna Mission by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has finally fallen flat and is tinged with "Durbhavna" (animosity and hatred) against Muslim community in the state. In the final run-up to the assembly polls in the state, Muslims have been completely left out in the list of candidates released by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, Muslims continue to be untouchables as ever even as he tries to hardsell his so-called state's development in foreign countries. Getting rid of the communal tag (remember infamous Gujarat 2002 riots) will now remain a mirage for Narendra Modi forever as electoral dividends continue to weigh heavily on his mind. Presented here is an incisive report by Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, IMO Gujarat Bureau Chief. -- Danish Ahmad Khan, Founder-Editor, Indian Muslim Observer]

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: Despite indications that the state BJP is courting them for the first time, (which has fallen flat with not a single Muslim being given party ticket for forthcoming assembly elections) the 36.5 lakh Muslim voters in Gujarat are in a Catch-22 situation. While most of them are wary of voting for BJP for ideological reasons, they are equally disenchanted with the Congress which is allegedly insensitive to their community.

“While Muslims do not like BJP owing to ideological reasons, they find the Congress insensitive to Muslim issues,” says Junagadh-based social activist Haji Harun. He cites the instance of Congress-ruled Junagadh Municipal Corporation (JMC), which has seven Muslim corporators.

“Congress came to power in JMC with Muslim support but did not give any important post in the civic body to a Muslim,” Harun says.

Interestingly, JMC is rumoured to go the Gandhinagar way, whose mayor and two corporators joined the BJP recently.

“Muslims are no doubt feeling uncomfortable with the Congress,” says Hamidullah Petiwala from Juhapura, who is an IT professional.

The community, which has remained loyal to the Congress for a long time in Gujarat, now wants its due share. The Gujarat Congress’s minority cell is reported to have demanded 14 tickets for Muslims from the areas that have a sizeable population of the minority community.

In 2007 Assembly elections, Congress had given tickets to six Muslim candidates of which five won.

Muslim leaders argue that the Congress has been giving fewer tickets to Muslims — there were 15 Muslim MLAs in 1985 — since growth of communalism in 1980s reduced the prospects of Muslims winning the seats.

On the other hand, BJP is making some cautious efforts to reach out to Muslims and has even pulled off some surprises like weaning away former state Congress spokesperson Asifa Khan, which was embarrassing for the Congress since Khan was handpicked by none other than Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel. Another big catch for the BJP is retired IPS officer Abdullah Ibrahim Saiyed.

While speculation is rife that the BJP may give more than five tickets to Muslims this time around, there are also murmurs in the minority community that even those of them who are backing BJP have to face some discrimination. As a worker of BJP’s minority cell puts it, “All other office-bearers, except us, have got space to sit and work in BJP’s head office in Khanpur.”

In another instance, the name of Mahebubali Chishti’s aka Mahebub Baba, who as president of BJP’s minority cell was instrumental in mobilising Muslims for CM Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana fasts, was missing from BJP’s official website until recently. However, Baba is the only Muslim in the list of star campaigners the BJP has sent to the Election Commission.
Baba, who was recently appointed chairman of the state Haj committee, says nearly 200 Muslims owing allegiance to BJP and winning local body elections showed the minority community’s tilt toward the saffron party. “There has been no communal rioting under BJP’s rule in Gujarat except the Godhra incident,” he says.

Rajeeka Kacheria, BJP’s IT Cell convener, says Baba’s name was missing from the BJP’s website because of a technical mistake that has now been corrected.

Apart from Congress and BJP, there are other parties like the Samajwadi Party, BSP, JD(U) and the Lok Janshakti Party in the fray, but most Muslims in Gujarat are likely to vote either for BJP or the Congress since the state’s politics has traditionally been bipolar.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on November 30, 2012. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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