RANCHI: The electoral marginalization of Muslim in India has become a new trend and Muslims in Jhakhand are facing the worst of it .The community constitute nearly 12 per cent of the state population and can sway the poll results in a few seats including Godda, Giridih, Koderma and Dhanbad but none of the mainstream political parties, both ruling and opposition, have put up a Muslim candidate in 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Moreover Jharkhand witnessed maximum no of lynching cases during last five years.
While BJP never had the history of fielding any Muslim candidiate in the state, not a single partner of the opposition grand alliance including Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) and RJD have fielded a minority candidate.
Initially, the congress had made up its mind to nominate former MP Furqan Ansari from Godda seat. However, the seat went to the JVM-P as part of seat adjustment in the grand alliance. This generated debate within the congress and among other political parties in the fold of the grand alliance.
Furqan had camped in Delhi for several days and attempted to apprise the apex leaders about the “consequences” but returned empty handed. His son and congress legislator from Jamtara Irfan Ansari said it (the decision of fielding not a single minority candidate) would impact a few neighbouring seats.
Peeved at the decision Ansari’s daughter Shabana Khatun has decided to enter the fray from Godda on Trinamool Congress’ ticket. The party was yet to put seal on her endeavour till date.
The development has generated sharp reactions both within the political parties and among the community leaders.
To pacify the disgruntled leaders, the grand alliance has dangled the carrot that a minority leader will be their unanimous candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls next year.
Congress state media coordinator Rajesh Thakur pointed out that the congress is contesting seven seats out of which four are general. He said the minority votes influences results in Giridih, Godda and Koderma and mentioned that Koderma and Godda has gone to the JVM-P and Giridih to JMM.
“Congress is a national party and has fielded several minority candidates in the country unlike the BJP. We are confident that the minorities would vote for congress,” he added.
He said the congress would give weightage to the minorities candidates in the assembly polls due in December. He also underlined that the party has three minority MLAs in the assembly as of now.
The JMM is also convinced that the minorities will vote for their candidates. Party general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya exuded confidence that the minorities, including Muslims, will vote for the JMM. He said to defeat the BJP is the first priority of the alliance.
“The JMM is contesting from four Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand out of which two are reserved for the scheduled tribes and the other two are general seats. Moreover, the JMM do not have a minority leader who could ensure victory in those seats,” he said.
JVM (P) spokesperson Yogendra Yadav said the minorities will go with the party that will protect their interest.
JMM leader and former principal of Marwari College Jawed Ahmed, however, expressed concern saying the “disenchant” minorities could be reluctant to vote that might influence poll results in three to four seats.
“I raised the matter in JMM central committee meeting held last month and mentioned not to ignore the minorities,” he said.
On the present context where the possibilities of a minority candidate appears remote (as nominations are still underway for the fifth, sixth and seventh phase), Ahmed said the minorities have left with no other way but to tolerate and live with hopes in the assembly and biennial elections.
State minority commission chairman and BJP leader Kamal Khan rebuffed the concept that the minorities are reluctant to vote and they will vote for the party.
“There are lots of schemes and programmes for the minorities in the state and there are reasons the Muslims would like to see a repeat of the BJP led government at the Centre. There are 186 Madrasas in Jharkhand and those fulfilling the norms are getting regular government aids,” he said.
“This election is a war between Hinduism and Hindutva, so raising such issue is not proper time for it. We should vote for those candidates who can defeat Hindutva forces, this should be the priority in this election ” said S.M. Anwar Hussain , the ex-president of AMUSU.
“Muslims are the mental slave of ‘secularism’, there is no difference Congress and JMM, all political parties blackmail Muslims in the name of secularism.” said Shahid Shakil Khan head of Bahujan Mukti Party, Jharkhand.