Muslims should think and vote regional
By Ghulam Muhammed
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Karnataka election victory of BJP has started a media frenzy to predict the imminent doom of Indian National Congress. All sorts of calculations are projected to nail the point that Congress is sure to lose the next Lok Sabha elections and BJP and its allies will form the next government at the center.
The whole scenario points to regionalization of Indian politics. The national stature of Indian National Congress has been declining since the demolition of Babri Masjid and the Muslim voters' rejection of Congress as their true friend and ally, in confrontation with Hindutva and RSS forces. Like Congress, Indian Muslims too had an all India presence and this factor had immensely benefited Congress to maintain its national presence and relevance. With each election after the imposition of PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh team on Congress and the nation, the all India presence is being challenged not by BJP as clear alternative, but more regional parties. States have realized that Congress and/or any other National party, is seriously handicapped in being responsive to the genuine needs of one or other state, while it has to look to other states clamouring for similar sops. The resulting deadlock, or indefinite postponement of vital decisions so crucial to individual states, damages the credibility or bona fide of the national party.
When a Raj Thackeray comes out with sons of the soil demand, mere platitude about national integrity would not suffice. The rat race in on! Some states have already got cozy niche in Central government, while others are waiting their turn as the next change of coalition equation.
Under such circumstance, Indian Muslims too should think regional. They should identify themselves with local strong groups, rather than the political parties with national ambitions, especially those with Brahminical leadership --- like Congress, BJP or CPM.
The current TMM campaign to get old Nawab Masjid in Vellore Fort, open for prayers, shows how Congress being a national party, had to play divisive communal politics of the worst kind when ASI under central jurisdiction, finds it convenient to allow a temple and a church to be handed over to their respective group while refusing the same yardstick of justice for Muslims. The injustice is so glaring that Congress leadership just cannot defend its communal policy with any degree of reasonable excuses. This is a case of high crime of communal discrimination against Muslims. However, Congress worry is not confined to only Tamil Nadu. It is apprehensive that if it gives in now to the just Muslim demands in Tamil Nadu, there would become precedent all over India. Being a national party it cannot afford to lose its bigger constituency of Hindu communalists, while 'appeasing' the Muslims in Tamil Nadu. It is time, therefore, for Muslims to relieve the Congress of this onerous duty to be just and appear to appease the Muslims, and shift their votes to regional parties, with whom they can be in a better position to bargain. Let Muslims and Congress not be emotional about such a parting of the way; as it is in the best of the nation, that the straitjacket of pseudo-secularism that Congress is wearing, should no longer force it to deny justice and fair-play to the Muslims.
Muslims however, should be very very vigilant that they keep out of the dragnet of Brahmin formations. Each and every political grouping, if dominated by the high-caste, like even BSP should be summarily rejected. Muslims should only cooperate with OBC and Dalits and SC/ST, to the complete exclusion of the criminal gang of exploiters, that will not relinquish their stranglehold on levers of power and pelf, unless they are clearly, publicly identifies and ostracized, just as they themselves ostracized the Dalits and the Malechas.
Muslim organisations, like Jamiatul Ulama, Jamaat e Islami, Mushawarat, Milli Council together with regional Muslim organisations should openly go regional. The Delhi based Muslim organisations should be humble enough to cooperate and even accept the leadership of regional Muslim organisations, especially from South and East. They should together come out with their favorites in each state, right from the very beginning of the campaigns that are now in full swing.
The first order of priority is not to think that Congress is our only saviour. All Brahmins think alike. If Congress has its Babri, BJP has its Gujarat, CPM has its Nandigram. All such crimes should be punished at the ballot box and better take care of the ballot box rigging too.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
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