Should Muslims Withdraw From Electoral Fray?

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Since Narendra Modi became Gujarat chief minister in 2002, the BJP has not fielded a single Muslim candidate either in the Lok Sabha or Assembly Elections.

 

The way big parties are trying their level best to dissociate with any step that can come across as minority appeasement shows us what is in store – Mohammad Adeeb, Ex-MP, Rajya Sabha

 

Caravan News

NEW DELHI: After one year, former Rajya Sabha Member Mohammad Adeeb has again raised this question. In a Facebook post on Sunday, he said that time has come for “Muslims to step back from the political arena altogether” because they have become “a taboo” for big political parties.

Former AMU Students Union president Adeeb, who was Member of Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, has expressed deep concern on how political parties are treating Muslims.

“The way “minorities” have become a taboo for the big parties and the way they are trying their level best to dissociate with any step that can come across as minority appeasement shows us what is in store in the future,” says Adeeb.

He is of the view that Muslims should step down from electoral fray and let the battle be fought on issues that affect all Indians.

“Muslims have already lost political relevance and if we don’t take care then India will lose its “secular credence” as well. We, as Indian Muslims, owe this to our secular Hindu counterparts to step down from the political arena altogether and LET THE BATTLE BE ON ISSUES THAT AFFECT ALL INDIANS NOT RELIGION ALONE,” writes Adeeb.

Despite failure on economic fronts, BJP is winning one election after another on the basis of hate, he says.

“The country has been suffering on all fronts, economic or otherwise, ever since 2014. But what the BJP is still able to survive on is their hate for minorities, which they can market way too well. There is a section, who despite disillusionment, will continue their allegiance with BJP because they feel INNATE HATRED for the minorities. These people idolize Narendra Modi…”

Secular Hindus Must Save Country From Becoming Hindu Rashtra

However, he has hope that the secular Hindus will save the country from becoming Hindu rashtra.

“We Muslims chose in 1947 not to live in the Muslim rashtra of Pakistan. It is now the turn of Hindus to decide whether they want India to become a Hindu rashtra or remain secular. Muslims should understand that their very presence in the electoral fray leads to a communal polarization…But we must not forget that the majority of Hindus are still secular. Let them fight out over the kind of India they want,” says Adeeb.

He has not explained his idea about withdrawal from politics. Should Muslims disband their political parties? Should they stop contesting election as Independent or candidate of political parties? Or Should Muslims stop casting vote?

In his last year Facebook post (Jan 2017), just ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, he had categorically said that Muslims should not cast vote if a secular alliance is not formed.

But he could not find many takers. Congress and Samajwadi Party formed an alliance but Bahujan Samaj Party fought alone, resulting in massive victory of BJP in the elections in March that year. BJP swept through the Muslim-dominated constituencies also.

Muslims Must Not Remain a Vote Bank; Strive for Empowerment of Their Own

But Lok Sabha Member Asaduddin Owaisi has very different view.

Addressing a big Muslim gathering in New Delhi last month, he asked Muslim youths to take part in politics in large number. He categorically said that Muslims should strive for empowerment of their own, rather than remaining mere vote-bank.

“We should speak about Muslims with courage because our Constitution allows us to do so. To reclaim dignity, we must keep fear away from us. If our leaders had not decided in 1948 to keep off politics and power, our situation would not have become such,” said AIMIM chief while speaking at the public session on the second day of SIO’s 3-day conference on “Reclaiming Dignity, Designing Future”.

He categorically said that Muslims not pin any hope in so-called secular parties.

“We must not be in illusion that secularism will ensure justice for us. I am unable to understand the meaning of secularism. It has been used to destroy Muslims and used at election time only. Muslim youths should take part in politics. If we think that so-called secular parties will solve our issues, we are wrong because they will never solve our problems,” said Owaisi to the huge applause of the audience.

Though he also did not explain how Muslims can get empowerment, his stress on discarding so-called secular parties clearly directed that Muslims should support Muslim political parties. But here again one can ask: Can this idea work in the present electoral system where a candidate with majority of the cast votes emerges as winner.

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