FEARLESS FORECAST: Manzoor Alam, general secretary of All India Milli Council, gestures during his lecture in Riyadh.
Muslims should wait and watch how Narendra Modi, BJP leader and India’s next prime minister, uses this opportunity to change himself from a polarizing figure with divisive ideology to a leader with an inclusive approach, according to Manzoor Alam, general secretary of All India Milli Council, who is also chairman of the New Delhi-based Institute of Objective Studies (IOS).
He was speaking at a talk on “The role of Indian Muslims in nation building: Exploring threats and opportunities Muslims will face post-election 2014.”
He said the coming three months would be very crucial to judge the Modi-led government. He welcomed BJP President Rajnath Singh’s post-victory statement that “the NDA government would take along everyone in the country’s journey toward development.”
Alam hoped Modi will not replicate the policy of Gujarat where he has completely marginalized Muslims.
“If majority communalism dominates, it will certainly make way for tyranny,” he stressed.
He added that the “dignity of humanity” will be a major challenge for the new government as the BJP is dominated by upper class Hindus and a firm believer in social stratification defined by Manusmriti, which will be a problem area for backward class people, hence Muslims can come into alliance with them as Islam advocates an egalitarian society.
Commenting on the poll results, he said Muslim votes alone could not have ensured victory for the Congress as a substantial section of Hindus were polarized.
He maintained that Muslims with around 18 percent of the total populace could have made the difference but the critical vote division and Aam Aadmi Party confusion disturbed the equation.
He added that in 35 seats Muslims constitute around one in three voters or more, on 38 other seats, Muslims are 21-30 percent of the electorate and if the 145 seats where they are 11-20 percent are added to this, Muslim voters have the ability to influence the outcome in 218 seats, but the division of votes for individual or narrow political gains of a few organizations damaged the equation.
Giving an example, he said in Uttar Pradesh (UP) alone, out of 80 seats, 32 have a Muslim population of close to 20 percent or more, yet, 30 seats went to the BJP.
Curiously, the saffron party swept all eight constituencies, including Saharanpur, Amroha, Shrawasti, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad and Rampur, where the Muslim population hovers around 40 percent.
Consequently, for the first time since independence, there is no Muslim MP from the state.
The trend is similar in Bihar where out of the 17 seats where Muslims have more than 15 percent of votes, BJP has won 12 due to sharp vote split of Muslim voters.
Even in Maharashtra, where Muslims constitute 15 percent of its population, BJP and its allies have swept the polls winning 42 out of 48 seats, including all the seats with considerable Muslim voters.