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Published in the 16-31 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Should Muslims vote for BJP?

Noted journalist Mr. S. Naqvi advised Muslims to stop ganging-up against any political party or alliance and vote for any political parties led by ‘enlightened’ Hindu leaders as he finds no ‘enlightened’ Muslim leader today! It is true that the Muslims have not produced a leader of national appeal, and have no political party of their own at the national level, though all other religious and caste groups formed their own political parties and shared power at one stage or another by exploiting the Muslims. His emphasis is on UP politics, especially at a time when the BJP is wooing the Muslims in a big way. This is quite evident from the PM’s political speech at BJP minority meeting after reassuring Mr. Arif M. Khan of a BJP ticket. Irrespective of harnessing Muslims votes for the BJP by these ‘self-appointed enlightened men’, the main question remained the same whether the BJP itself has graduated to a level where it could deliver to the just aspirations of the Muslims to live as equal citizens in their own country of birth with all the rights like other community members. 

The performance of the BJP government during the last five years definitely has not changed either the ideology of the BJP or its method of working towards the minorities in general, and Muslims in particular. Their agenda is very much anti-Muslim. The numerous reports coming from Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan and other parts of the country, where the BJP is engaged in sustained ‘hate-campaigns’ against the Muslims are very alarming. Under the rule of democratically elected governments, the citizens are afraid as their life and means of livelihood are threatened by the cadres of the ruling party, the BJP. How can one trust the words of Mr. Vajpayeeji when he said at the minority morcha convention that the Muslims shall not fear and will be treated as equals, when under his tenure he allowed his own men in Gujarat to go on the rampage against innocent Muslims and barbarically raped, killed, burned hundreds of helpless women, children and others with full support of the state administration and police force? His party, the BJP, poisoned mind of the people of Gujarat with the ‘communal venom’ to conduct such barbaric and fascist act. He never dared to punish even one of the culprits there, even just for the sake of justice. Instead his government rewarded them. Now he is allowing his lieutenant Ms. Uma Bharati with the active participation of the RSS to commit atrocities against the Muslims and the Christians. The pattern of subjugating the hapless minority community is progressing in all directions with the blessings of Mr. Vajpayee. Is Mr. Vajpayee advising the Muslims to forget all these atrocities and fall in line to vote for the lotus directly? Despite the BJP’s ‘recent catch of a few Muslims’ with allurement of seats and money, the PM cannot deceive the community again as he lost his credibility by presiding over the Sangh Parivar militants, who are set free to convert secular India into a fascist land of religious fanatics.

Mr. Vajpayee’s BJP government did nothing to improve the very poor, bizarre economic statistics pertaining to the Muslim population of the country. Educational institutions, hospitals, job opportunities, safety to life & properties, etc. are all at stake. The PM’s current promises are nothing but political gimmicks to garner as much votes as possible without any commitment and by emotionally blackmailing the Muslim community, with a hidden agenda of perpetrating a form of Hindu backlash to pull those secular minded Hindus to BJP’s fold.

The Muslim leaders of the country, and especially in UP, have a historical responsibility to ‘enlighten’ the community to cast their franchise in favour of the secular parties of the country to defeat those ‘Muslim baiters’ who are with the BJP and to oust the BJP led fascist government if they posses any sympathy towards those killed in Gujarat and elsewhere, and those suffering in other parts of the country. Another term for the BJP will be disastrous for the country.

Yusuf N. Muhammed, 

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