The myth of Muslim vote bank is busted, now the
community should come out of the ghettoism mindset
Firoz Bakht Ahmed
Modi’s 2017 landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, has given a clear message to all the communities and castes besides other such mushrooming shops of the end of divisiveness and the dawn of inclusiveness. It is also the end of all the “…isms”, namely, minorityism, majorityism, secularism, communalism etc.
A very interesting feature was with the highly discussed Muslim vote bank that was predicted to vote for Akhilesh, to ward off BJP, voted for all the parties including the BJP. A team of Friends for Education, the NGO busy in the uplift of the Urdu medium schools and madrasas, discovered that in 42 of the 105 Muslim dominated constituencies with 20 per cent or more Muslim population, 10 to 20 per cent votes had been polled to Modi, mostly by the women and youth. It is certainly a strange but pleasant surprise.
Muslims also voted for Modi as they felt ditched by Akhilesh Yadav who made 14 promises in 2012 after coming to power of which none were fulfilled. An effort by BSP supremo Mayawati to file almost 100 Muslim candidates and an open appeal to the community for alliance with the SCs further gave them the option. It’s not only Akhilesh or Mayawati who claimed to espouse the cause of Muslims but the community leadership that has lost its voice and utility. Most of the Muslim leaders like Asaduddin Owaisi and Azam Khan, are brokers who play the politics of vote banks to acquire the State patronage for themselves and their coteries. Their obscurantism is leading the community backwards—to the dark ages.
Thus, issues such as the Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai, reservations, the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia etc have become the rallying cry of Muslims, with no bearing on the real problems of the Muslims.
Because of their leaders and the petty politicians who represent them, Indian Muslims today live in a system of unofficial apartheid. This ghetto existence has allowed the rise of a class of political middlemen who serve as interlocutors between the Muslim masses and the rest of Indian society. The whole strategy is to vote for any candidate who can defeat the BJP. An efficacious outcome of this so-called the 2019 semi final is that the myth of Muslims voting enbloc has fallen apart. Truth is that Muslims vote in a very secular manner like any other voter driven mostly by local considerations. On the other hand, the fact also is that the the hollow anti-BJP harangue makes all the non-Muslim voters wary and united as happened in UP.
Nevertheless, Muslims have this time come out of the clutches of the ghetto mindset and strategy of imprudently voting against the BJP candidates. In politics, nobody is untouchable. What is inexplicable is the fact that Muslims have been voting for the Congress and Samajwadi Party as if it has been ordained by Allah or asked in the Hadith and the holy Quran!
It is high time that Muslims incorporate the changing paradigm of Indian political system that has come out of the clutches of the mentality of making India a divided house. They must respond to Modi’s call of progress for one and all.
Modi is a man of commitment as he helps without any appeasement. In Gujarat, he helped the kite industry by giving 500 million rupees. Most Muslims benefited as they are the ones in this trade. In the same way, when “Ujjwala” gas cylinders were given to the poor families, it was the Muslim women who were benefited in large numbers. While opening the Jan-Dhan accounts also Muslims were natural beneficiaries.
While speaking on his victory gathering at the Delhi BJP office, Prime Minister gave a clear message that after this massive mandate, he would embrace all the voters irrespective of the fact whether they have voted for the BJP or not.
As it is time for the BJP and Modi to prove that this so-called secularists’ regiment was befooling and befuddling the Muslims for their own stake, Muslim community also needs to respond to this positive message without the mindset of ghettoism.
(The writer is a grandnephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and a social commentator and can be contacted at [email protected])