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Delhi Tests Muslim Voters’ Dreams

Published: 10/04/2014 03:47:58 PM GMT
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DELHI – In the heart of India’s politics, a considerable percentage of Muslim voters are watching their footsteps as they choose their rulers for the coming five years in a triangular contest between three major parties in Thursday’s election battle in Delhi. “I am enthused about the polls as I shall be voting for the first time and ...(more)

DELHI – In the heart of India’s politics, a considerable percentage of Muslim voters are watching their footsteps as they choose their rulers for the coming five years in a triangular contest between three major parties in Thursday’s election battle in Delhi.

“I am enthused about the polls as I shall be voting for the first time and my vote will be for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP),” Aslam Salim, a first time voter from Chandni Chowk in Delhi, told OnIslam.net.

“I see my future and the future of the country secure with AAP.”

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The capital of India goes to polls on April 10 when more than 12 million people would exercise franchise to elect seven members of parliament from whole of Delhi.

Muslims account for 11.72 percent of Delhi’s population, which is considered the heart of all political activities.

The three major political parties Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are making last minute efforts to garner votes. Triangular contest between these parties is expected in almost all the constituencies.

However, not a single Muslim candidate has been fielded by any of these political parties. While Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Muslim candidates from Northeast and East Delhi constituencies, their presence was not felt during campaigning. Both the areas have a considerable Muslim population.

Abdul Sami, BSP’s candidate from Northeast Delhi, told OnIslam.net, “BSP has proved that it is the only party which favors Muslims. No other major party has given ticket to Muslims.”

“They only want votes from Muslims but when it comes to ticket distribution they deny it,” he added.

Yet, a big number of Muslim voters seemed decided on voting for Arvind Kejriwal of AAP as the only person capable of facing BJP Narendra Modi.

“This man has the guts to go for a face-to-face fight with BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, which proves that he believe in what he says. I think Muslims should come forward and support him,” Imtiyaz Rasool, a resident of Okhla area in Delhi, said

When told that AAP has not fielded even a single Muslim candidate, he said further, “We don’t want Muslim candidates who after getting elected work only for their betterment or for their families. We would prefer a Hindu or someone from any other community who should work for the real development of the city.”

Similarly Ayesha Zafar from Dwarka, who voted for AAP in the assembly elections last December, also hopes to support AAP.

“I don’t think there is any party we should vote for except AAP. I feel Arvind Kejriwal is the person who can fight corruption if given a chance,” she said.

Congress No More

Getting Muslim support over the past two decades, the Congress party is feeling the heat that their Muslim vote bank is surely shifting towards AAP.

“We never voted for Congress as a choice, but at that time we thought that it is better than the BJP, but now we have the option with AAP,” Arshiya Ahmed, a researcher in Delhi University, told OnIslam.net.

“It is much better than all the other parties.”

The Congress leaders themselves feel that the party has not done enough to keep its Muslim vote bank intact.

“I think we failed to deliver even after ruling for 10 long years. Muslims are now looking at AAP for their future. Security is not the only issue for them,” said a Muslim Congress leader of Delhi on the condition of anonymity.

“They also need employment, education and health facilities, which we failed to provide them.”

Muslims in Delhi are also cautious and feel that these elections are going to be very crucial for the community.

“We are fed up with politics of temple and mosque. We want someone who could work towards development of the country and for providing jobs to the youths,” said Riyaz Umar from New Delhi who declined to comment when asked who he would vote for but replied in negative when asked whether he could vote for BJP.

For some voters, security comes first when voting for a favorite party in this year’s elections.

Nahid Akhtar, a lady in her fifties, said that as a Muslim she would go for someone who promises security for the community not only in Delhi but also in other places for the Muslim brothers.

“I could not dream anything except security. I have seen visuals of Muzzafarnagar (the clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh in August - September last year had resulted in at least 60 deaths) and I know what those Muslims have gone through just because of votes. So I want someone who should not talk about religion but development,” she said.

However, Muslims all over India are now preparing to face the worst.

They know that this time there is every chance that BJP will finally emerge as the single largest party and could also form the government.

“I am ready to face anything. If Allah (Almighty) has decided to make Narendra Modi the prime minister then we cannot do anything,” Jehangir Azam from Delhi told OnIslam.net.

“We will face him. Let’s see what he does with us.”

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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