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Congress needs challenging zing to regain Muslim support

The vote bank politics has proven to be a myth during the 2014 Lok Sabha and after the assembly elections. Mayawati was voted out by the Dalits, Muslims shrunk Congress to size zero and many other parties whose vote bank was a particular community broke the barriers by voting for BJP. The reason could be Modiji’s election promises such as development and everybody’s growth. People wanted change and Modi waves really blown wild in the country that swiped out the floor beneath all other political parties. BJP had taken a stand for the Muslim women when it emerged as the single party to oppose the evil practice of triple-talaq and Halala among Muslim households. By doing so, they may have won the hearts of Muslim women resulting in the recent mandate, which we are all aware of. Also, the Shia Muslims are known to be the conventional voters of the BJP. Another possibility is that some Muslims, fed up with the pseudo-secular parties like Congress, SP, and BSP, have finally realised the true meaning of a secular party and have voted in favour of the BJP. However, this is an unclear possibility.

Congress has not been dissimilar to the good-old Muslim League. The ML created a myth to further its interests (Viz., to get a country for itself to lord over) whereas, the Congress created a myth of “insecurity” within the minds of the minorities (to project itself as the messiah for the minorities). Since it was just a myth, the Congress had nothing particular to offer (to the minorities) but on the way, it made enemies of the Hindus.

When the BJP – a so-called Rightist party – emerged to a challenging position, Congress blamed the BJP instead of (wisely) recognising their faulty thinking and sloppy leadership to the country. They failed to acknowledge the writing on the wall – if you fail to deliver, you shall pay the price of giving way to other parties. People gave them chance for 15 long years. Indian voters are unpredictable and they always look for change. The Congress party failed to change their policies and viewpoints and continued their calcified thinking for 70 years. They paid attention to the development but failed in spreading the word. Congress increased industrial potential by creating employment opportunities, but the over gaga about corruption has duped them. There were forces like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev who created anger against Congress and its leadership; the same people are now silent on BJP’s corruption. Anyway, resulting to this corruption episode, people demanded a way out of their hardships; Congress had nothing to offer much. Congress ruled for continuous three terms, and they took voters for granted, especially the minorities. The cynicism about the Muslim community’s reservations about voting for the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was laid to rest in 2014. It also indicated that the minority community is ready to give the BJP a chance at governance. Moreover, a large section of the Muslim population came out in celebration of the BJP’s victory stating that they felt no fear in voting for the party. The BJP has won more than half of the Lok Sabha seats across the country with a high percentage of Muslim voters, with most of the gains concentrated in the politically crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. However, the new Lok Sabha will have the fewest Muslim parliamentarians since the one elected in 1952, with just 21 of them emerging victorious in the polls. The BJP itself does not have a single MP from the minority community. The BJP won 45 of the 87 Lok Sabha seats identified by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) as having a high concentration of Muslim voters. In Uttar Pradesh alone, the party won all but one of the 27 seats with a sizeable Muslim electorate. Prominent among the winners in Uttar Pradesh was BJP president Rajnath Singh, who bagged the Lucknow seat that has some four lakh Muslim voters, including numerous Shias.

Significantly, the BJP bagged three seats in Assam with a large number of Muslim voters — Guwahati, Mangaldoi, and Kaliabor. It also won the Chandni Chowk and North-East Delhi constituencies in the national Capital, both of which have a large Muslim electorate. Of the 102 constituencies where at least one in five voters is a Muslim, the BJP won 47 seats. The maximum number of Muslim MPs, six, were elected from West Bengal, followed by four from Bihar. It is no wonder, people wanted a change, they never mind who it was but they wanted someone who could make their lives easier and better. The resounding victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s previously concluded election was considered as a religious vote in favour of the Hindu nationalist party. We have seen the politics of vote bank. Whether Congress/SP/BSP/AIMIM etc., they always tried to show how much they care about Muslims but the ground reality is they did nothing for anybody and as a result of that, many Muslims/Hindus became jobless. Political parties always tried and got successful to get votes on the name of religion. But now the youth is getting clever day by day, knowing the facts and acting according to that. The youth of any religion want development, jobs, good infrastructure, education and don’t want poverty, so-called secularism, religious hate etc. Moreover, the PM caught the nerves at an appropriate time but later on, he also failed to provide jobs, and the development is going on a slow pace. He and his party worked according to that and asked people to vote for development and voters did correspondingly. Like every citizen of India, Muslims also demand the development of their nation as they are also a part of the country.

Large sections of the Hindu voted overwhelmingly in favour of the BJP. But this was hardly a reaction to a perceived consolidation of Muslims – who comprise 13 per cent of India’s billion-strong population – against the party. Though the Congress party mopped up as much of the Muslim vote as it had secured in the 2009 polls, the community’s support for the party was not uniform across the country.

In states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, where Congress was directly pitted against the BJP, the Muslims, in general, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the BJP. If this trend continues, then the situation would worsen for Congress even in 2019 elections. They urgently need issues, new faces, and challenging vigour.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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