Saffron gloves over
The charming ambiguity is over and the gloves are off. The BJP, which has of late been making much about inclusive growth and communal harmony, has not fielded a single Muslim candidate from its karmabhoomi (battleground) of Uttar Pradesh. Instead, it is making a serious bid for the OBC vote this time, trying to engineer a package to accommodate the upper castes, Dalits and OBCs.
The Congress may be hopelessly down, but at least for appearances sake, it is trying to strike a fine balance between Muslims, OBCs, Dalits, Brahmins and Thakurs in the 69 seats it is contesting.
As far as the BJP is concerned elaborate note of contrition was just for show, after all. As a matter of fact, when party chief Rajnath Singh sought to reach out to Muslims, who make up about 17 per cent of the population in UP, few took him seriously. But Rajnath insisted on being earnest, asking the community to give his party one chance to make up for all the neglect that the saffron brigade showed towards them in the past. He had said that the Congress had promised only to betray all these years, while the BJP would rectify its own track record.
However, as it turns out, the so called entente cordiale was nothing but a facade, a subterfuge. And one will not be surprised if the Muslims, as Rasheeda Bhagat has pointed out in an incisive piece in a business daily are chafing at this insult.
The glib argument in explanation for the total absence of Muslims on its list of candidates for Uttar Pradesh has been ascribed “winnability”. Rajnath, as Bhagat points out, said that the BJP had given tickets to Muslims in other states (three in Kashmir!) and appealed to all “our Muslim brothers and sisters to join us; we will not allow hatred to prosper”!
It is by now clear as to what educated Muslims in UP make of this undisguised contempt by not even giving a token seat to a Muslim candidate. The BJP is not prepared to to make even symbolic gestures in its karmabhoomi... even when Muslims constitute 17 per cent of the vote in UP, they will have to just swallow the bitter pill that the casual apology actually meant.
That most other parties have indulged largely in mere tokenism is an established fact, but the saffron snub is too blatant to be ignored. But facts are facts, and they will tell you that Gujarat hasn’t sent a single Muslim to the Lok Sabha since 1989, that is, for the last 25 years! The ill-fated Ehsan Jafri from Ahmedabad and Ahmedbhai Mohamadbhai from Broach have been just exceptions to the rule! Naveen Patnaik’s Orissa, even when the leader broke away from the NDA in 2004 over the BJP’s questionable secular credentials, did not send a single Muslim MP to the 15th Lok Sabha.
As pithily borne out, in 2009, the total number of Muslim MPs in the House came down from 35 to 30, accounting for a mere 5 per cent representation of a group constituting over 13 per cent of the Indian population. Of these, four were from Jammu and Kashmir!
In fact, as soon as Rashid Alvi declared his desire to contest from Varanasi, Modi-supporters were happy that he would end up splitting the 3 lakh Muslim votes in Varanasi, who apparently seem inclined to support Arvind Kejriwal.(The Congress is yet to name its candidate).
The author got views of some veteran journalists:
Hitler’s Jewish supporters
There is nothing odd about a clutch of Muslims – intellectual as well as the hoi polloi – professing allegiance to Hindutva mascot Narendra Modi. Remember there was a cluster of Jews - the Zionists - in the Third Reich who showed identical support for Adolf Hitler quite unmoved by the large-scale extermination of the larger Semitic community across Nazi domain. Read Lenni Brenner.
It has been suggested that Narendra Modi and his fascist cohorts have been wooing Muslims to vote for him in the general elections. It shows Modi’s desperation. That there is not a single Muslim candidate in Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh is posed by Modi’s detractors, principally the Congress, as a counterpoint. This is a facetious argument, which was dealt with and rejected at India’s independence. The Congress represented everyone under Gandhi and though it may have had Muslims among its candidates that could not be a mandatory requirement for its secular credentials. Muslim, Christian, Sikh and interests of other minorities can and should be represented by everybody, principally the majority community.
This, however, cannot be done by an avowedly Hindu fascist party that Modi leads. The Congress and the Left were expected to shoulder the responsibility of looking after India’s minorities. The fact that they dithered in their duty does not mean that Muslims should commit mass suicide and head for a Gujarat-like slaughter house that Modi may well turn India into.
Hindu fascism is not against Muslims or Christians exclusively though these communities have been its main targets in the past. Liberal Hindus - a whole majority of them -- are at equal peril, as is the vast swathe of Dalits and the tribes-people straddling much of the country.
Muslims it seems need to shed their self-regarding victimhood and get the hang of joining the struggle of other communities that are just as threatened by the Narendra Modi-led and big business-sponsored subversion of democracy in India.
A cluster of Muslims joining Modi does not change the exigency
#Shesh Narain Singh
The imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid met with Sonia Gandhi today and the BJP leaders and their friends in media are busy condemning Sonia Gandhi for her politics of tushtikaran . Wonder if the same imam would have met any one of the top BJP leaders what would have been the tone of the BJP leaders today and their friends in media .The BJP is desperately trying to get the support of Muslims in the Loksabha 2014 elections. But they do not want to let their Hindutva mass base know that they are soft on the Muslims. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate has got a reputation that he will eliminate the Muslims from India and many of his hard core supporters seriously believe it. These morons are the real core supporters of Narendra Modi. If he is seen as somebody who has got any kind of soft corner for the Muslims, he is sure to lose the support of his real followers.
This is the reason the BJP did not give any ticket to Muslims. Last year, some friends of the BJP had suggested to the party president Rajnath Singh to come out with a vision document for minority empowerment'. The party started a Sadbhavana project as well. They had decided to identify the problems of Muslims. Narendra Modi had gathered some Muslims in some cities. In Bhopal, his supporters bought some skull caps and paraded some people wearing those caps.
The BJP was planning to woo Muslims in a serious way .Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was made in-charge of the vision document project .Some other Muslim members of the party were also included in the consultations .But the scheme has been shelved now . The party is scared of being branded as pro-Muslim .The BJP leaders know that no Muslim is going to vote for them and if they try to make amends with the Muslim sentiments they will lose their fanatic Hindutva voter. Everybody knows that the party is solely dependent on the hard core Hindutva vote .That is why they could not gather courage to give tickets to some Muslims.
Is it the sense of alarmism among Indian Muslims or do the Muslims suffer from the persecution complex? Perhaps both! The pre-poll political attempts by the BJP for the BJP-Muslim entente cordiale have been restricted only to a handful powdered faces.
The antagonism of the BJP with Muslims is deep rooted. Paradoxically, Muslims constitute 17 per cent. Long back, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, one of the present spokespersons of the BJP, had won from Rampur, a predominantly Muslim constituency on the BJP ticket.
Attempts in this regard were made by the BJP and even by the Jan Sangh in the past to rope in Muslim faces. A Muslim from Jammu & Kashmir state was accommodated in the Rajya Sabha, a Muslim was projected in Madhya Pradesh and there was a Muslim Minister in the Council of Ministers in Rajasthan too. Shahnawaj Khan bagged Bhagalpur seat in Bihar for the BJP in 2009.
Interesting phenomenon is that there are only two Muslim legislators in Rajasthan and both have won the last Assembly elections on the BJP tickets. Perhaps Muslims are more than willing to shed their antagonism with the saffron brigade this time as they are enamoured of power which they had lost to the British way back in 1857 but somehow managed to be in the power corridor during the post-Independence days by throwing their weight behind the Congress and to some extent left parties.