Maharashtra Muslims to go for elections without strategy but with miraculous expectation

September 19, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Muslims VotingMumbai, September 16, 2014: Maharashtra assembly elections are round the corner, 288 seats to go for polls on 15th October and as usual the anxiety of Muslims in the state have started to build up for two major reasons – to keep communal parties at bay and to increase Muslim representation in the assembly.

These worries of Muslims always crop up only days before elections – parliamentary or assembly. Barely a section of the community in reality bothers about the actual strategy months before elections to achieve these two goals in the elections which basically rest at almost all Muslims’ heart.

Even though these are main concerns of Muslims but the community never prepares a united strategy to accomplish the common objective. Muslims make up 11-12% of the population in the state and hence have the possible strength in proving vital during elections if their votes are not divided.

Presently in the state there are set of Muslim led or so called pro-Muslim parties who are eying to fight assembly polls from Muslim majority areas. These are Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Awami Vikas Party, Welfare Party of India, Samajwadi Party (SP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslemeen (AIMIM). Although SP is not purely Muslim party but is the strongest Party mostly preferred by Mumbai Muslims.

As of now these parties have not allied together plus there is no apparent possibility of alliance between SP and AIMIM. Even if these parties get together they will pose main hurdle for INC-NCP than Shiv Sena (SS) – BJP alliance as Muslims in the communally sensitive state are known to least vote for SS and BJP rather they are identified to choose INC-NCP candidates due to their secular stand.

AIMIM has made a grand entry into Maharashtra with Akbaruddin Owaisi holding a huge rally in Mumbai this week where he announced of fielding candidates from Muslim majority areas in the upcoming elections with the motive of increasing Muslim representation in the assembly so as to raise community issues more rigorously.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) which has a strong presence in Kerala has announced of fighting from all 20 Muslim majority seats in and around Mumbai. Former police commissioner Shamsher Khan Pathan led Awami Vikas Party has also announced of fielding candidates from all Mumbai seats. Three years before launched Welfare Party of India has also declared of fighting on 80 seats.

These sections of Muslim parties are indeed going to disturb the equation of Muslim votes in the state especially for already struggling INC-NCP in the state. Learning parables from the defeat in the parliamentary elections and with the worry of impact of debuting AIMIM in the state, Samajwadi Party (SP) state Chief Abu Asim Azmi has already declared of going into seat sharing with INC-NCP.

“One cannot deny that the AIMIM’s candidates will divide the Muslim votes. To avoid the division, we have decided to support the secular parties and may field only 8 to 10 candidates in seat sharing arrangements with the Congress and the NCP,” Abu Asim Azmi reportedly told HT.

In present political scenario in the state some short sighting Muslims are expecting of a miracle in their community favor from the elections while Muslims having awareness are worried with the announcement of fighting election by the number of Muslim parties.

Advocate A.W. Shaikh, resident of Mumbra in Mumbai told, “At a time when communal forces are at rise and minority voices are suppressed, there is no need of such Muslim parties as an alternative in the elections rather they should increase awareness in the minority people and unit their vote for secular candidate in the region”.

Sajid Shaikh, a government employee residing at Bandra in Mumbai said, “Even though we learn lessons in every elections but the community never comes up with united strategy that could help the community as a whole. Rather than launching new Muslim party in the elections the community leaders should compel the already existing secular parties to listen to their problems and to implement schemes in the community favor”.

Till now, Vidarbha Muslims have not recovered from the shock of Lok Sabha election results from where all the 10 seats were won by SS-BJP alliance and hence are not optimistic about the upcoming assembly elections.

Talking TCN, social activist A. Raza from Vidarbha said, “I have found Muslims in the area to be less enthusiastic about the election this time. They are feeling that their votes have no meaning as in the Lok Sabha elections majority of the Muslims in the region had voted to defeat saffron party but none of the candidate they voted won in the election”.

Although some Muslim youths in Marathwada region who are energized with Owaisi brothers speeches are seeing a hope in AIMIM and are expecting the party to deliver same performance as like in Hyderabad.

“This is the party we were waiting for. I am not party worker but wish to soon work for it”, said Saleem, a vendor at the Nanded train station.

“We supported congress against Shiv Sena many times but congress has not lifted Muslim issues and hence we feel AIMIM will be the better option for Muslims”, said a young businessman from Aurangabad who wished to be identified with only his last name Khan.

In such a mixture of hope and worry for the Muslims in the state, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is the only organization working to unite Muslim votes. It has announced last week that it is going to hold a state-wide campaign highlighting its various demands.

The organization aims to reach out to at least six crore voters through various means, including door-to-door campaigning, corner meetings, symposiums and rallies between September 12 and 21.

Aslam Gazi, senior member of Jamaat-e-Islami and resident of Kurla in Mumbai said to DNA, “At the end of the day, a winnable candidate is someone who can trounce a communal person. We look to consolidate votes instead of dividing them. If votes get divided, that will affect us. If both the major candidates happen to be from the same community, or a non-Muslim stands in a sure-shot secular seat, we look at the standing of the person in the community. In the past this has happened: Muslims were put up, but non-Muslims have won if they were better.”

All political parties will begin their campaigning soon in the state and it is exciting to watch how INC-NCP alliance play its cards this election so as to defeat grand Mahayuti (BJP-SS-RPI) alliance while winning over Muslims vote which will otherwise go to the set of debuting Muslim parties in the state.

Fingers crossed!

– tcn

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