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Muslim Voters Defeat India Rulers

Published: 06/03/2012 05:18:48 PM GMT
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LUCKNOW - Muslim voters in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh dealt a heavy a blow to the country's ruling Congress Party, favoring a regional party to meet their aspirations for a better life.“The UP verdict is (more)

LUCKNOW - Muslim voters in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh dealt a heavy a blow to the country's ruling Congress Party, favoring a regional party to meet their aspirations for a better life.

“The UP verdict is a victory of democracy,” Dr Manzoor Alam, General Secretary, All India Milli Council, told (TCN) website over phone on Tuesday, March 6.

“People should be congratulated for mature thinking.”

With the count nearing its conclusion on Tuesday, the Congress party, which runs the federal government in New Delhi, was trailing in fourth place in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous and politically significant state.

The results showed the regional Samajwadi Party, which draws on support from low-caste farmers and Muslims, heading for a landslide victory as it won 129 in the 403-seat assembly and is leading in another 94 seats.

"It has been a disaster for the Congress, it's an even bigger disaster for Rahul Gandhi and the Gandhi family," political analyst Amulya Ganguli told Reuters.

"They were banking on success in these elections, hoping to get at least four out of five states. It has gone exactly the opposite way. It shows that there is no charisma left in the Gandhi family."

The polls were a mid-term popularity test for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's scandal-tainted government ahead of the 2014 elections and a first appraisal of Rahul Gandhi, the next in line in the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Gandhi, who left no stone unturned in giving a tough fight to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), tried badly to woo Muslims who have deserted the Congress after 1992 Babri Masjid demolition.

Following a record high turn-out of 59.5 percent, UP's incumbent Chief Minister Mayawati, a colorful low-caste leader famed for her handbags and taste for expensive statues, was also heading for a thumping defeat.

Peeping into expected results of 2014 general elections, Uttar Pradesh results reflected a growing discontent of Muslims with the Congress party and its regional ally.

“Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) neglected Muslims in a planned way in all spheres. Like other parties it wanted to win Muslims just on security issue,” Dr. Alam said.

“It disrespected Muslims. Mayawati worked only for her own castes.

“Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress are national parties. Muslims can't go to BJP and did not show interest in Congress. So they preferred a regional party to take on another regional party,” he added.

Mujtaba Farooque, President of the Welfare Party of India, agreed.

“Though neither SP nor BSP has done any good for the community, but people had little options. There was an anti-incumbency factor,” Farooque said.

Muslim Warning

Showing unprecedented support to Samajwadi Party, Muslims said the result was a warning to Congress.

“It is a challenge for the SP as to how fast it implements its manifesto. Muslims can't live on lollypop,” Dr Alam told TCN.

“We need security and reservation in all security forces, development.”

Though Congress promised Muslims a 4.5% minority quota in jobs and education, Muslims rejected it, saying it was just a lollypop that would not help Muslims.

“The 4.5% minority quota within the Other Backward Castes (OBC) quota of 27% just before election was taken as a lollypop by Muslims who needed roti to eat. Its implementation was not clear,” Dr. Alam added.

“If Congress wanted it could have implemented in other states.”

There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India and they have long complained of being discriminated against in all walks of life.

Muslims complain of decades of social and economic neglect and oppression.

Official figures reveal Muslims log lower educational levels and higher unemployment rates than the Hindu majority and other minorities like Christians and Sikhs.

They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India's 1.3 million-strong military.

These results posed a threat to Congress to complete unfulfilled promises they made to Muslim in 2009. “Congress should take a lesson,” Dr. Alam warned.“They still have two and half years for the Lok Sabha elections. If they do not keep promises made in 2009, it will get similar result in 2014.”

Reproduced with permission from