During election season, every political party woos Muslims, as any other community. But promises made to other communities do not get as attention as Muslims. There are many misconceptions, what Muslims really want. Political parties think that they are emotional and can be motivated by imaginary issues. This misconception is also shared by many other people in the country as well.
Tried and Tested Everybody, Including BJP
It has been proven many times, that Muslims, just like any other community, vote for different reasons to different parties. They have also voted for BJP too in past. In Lucknow, Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to get huge Muslim support. Similarly, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Vasundhra Raje have also enjoyed their support in their states. For same reasons, in upcoming state elections, like every other party, BJP is also looking towards them.
BJP, being a pro-Hindu party, does not matter them. They are far more mature than that. They are only concerned by its anti-Muslim policies. That is why if anybody thinks that BJP can project Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate, and can get Muslim votes, then he/she is being foolish.
Nitish Kumar knew this thing perfectly well. In last elections, Muslims voted for not just JD(U), but also its ally, BJP. Lalu and Congress could not get as much their support. Nitish has again betted on Muslims. But point is, whether Muslims will support him, just because he has left BJP? For the answer, one has to wait till next elections.
Biggest Issue – Security
Just like everyone else, they do not vote en masse. Each person has different reason to vote for one candidate over other. Issues of electricity, water, roads, law order etc. matter to them too.
There is one issue, which combines every minority community in every country i.e. security. Fear of being prosecuted by majority community. In India, Sikhs felt this in 1984 riots and Christians in Kandhamal riots. Muslims experienced same after, Godhara incident and Babri Mosque demolition. Whichever party is strictly secular, not just during elections or for namesake, generally gets support of minority community.
New Biggest Issue – Development
There have been many instances, when political parties try to play the ‘wolf is coming’ card, i.e. fear of insecurity. Over a period of time, the fear has subsidized. Biggest reason of that is increasing level of education and economic development among Muslims. As the country has developed, secular fabric in the country has strengthened.
Among Muslims, high and middle class knew the importance of education earlier too. But now lower class has understood importance of science and English. Earlier same people used to rely on priests for advice. Priests used to exploit the power to their advantage.
Ideally, political parties should have tried to increase awareness during their campaigns. But parties looked at their backwardness as secured vote bank. No country can progress by keeping a large part of its population in darkness or fear. Muslims, the biggest minority group in India, cannot be suppressed for long.
Importance of Middle Path
Mayawati has shown, if there is a will, how backward sections of the society can be brought forward. Muslims also want same thing. Muslims are on radar of every political party, including BJP. In a sense, it is a good sign for the democracy.
20% of population of the country may not be enough to defeat any one political party, but it is enough to give a loud and clear message. That message may also resonate with large number of Hindus as well. This is a good sign for Muslims and for healthy democracy.
As old saying is Fire should always have fear of water.