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Muslims consolidated behind INDI Alliance, yet, Delhi Muslims are disappointed that the ‘communal’ BJP did not lose in the national capital

In Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress alliance was defeated by the saffron party, which went on to win all seven of the national capital's constituencies.

The outcome of the Lok Sabha election may not have aligned with expectations for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, but their performance in certain crucial regions has been outstanding and surpassed all expectations. In Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress alliance was defeated by the saffron party, which went on to win all seven of the national capital’s constituencies. The remarkable accomplishment, however, did not sit well with members of the Muslim community, according to a report in the Times of India.

“It seems that our votes didn’t count for much. In the Lok Sabha election, the community has limited influence in a direct contest against the BJP. We are disappointed with the false promises of the BJP spreading hate and community divide. However, we are hopeful in the upcoming assembly polls,” commented 35-year-old Mehfooz Alam in Delhi after the election outcome.

Muslims make up about 12.9% of Delhi’s population, according to the 2011 Census. Political estimates place the percentage of Muslim voters as high as 20.7% in the North East Lok Sabha constituency. Chandni Chowk (14%), East Delhi (16.8%), New Delhi (16.8%), North West Delhi (10.6%), South Delhi (7%), and West Delhi (6.8%) are among the other constituencies with a sizable Muslim population. With 58.3% of the vote, the North East assembly constituency received the most votes, followed by Seelampur, Mustafabad and Babarpur, all of which had a majority Muslim population. However, Kanhaiya Kumar, the Congress candidate, was defeated by a margin of more than 1.3 lakh votes by BJP’s Manoj Tiwari.

According to Joharipur resident Mohd Mushtaq, the public was leaning more in favour of the BJP. “The problem with Kanhaiya Kumar is that he did not visit the people on the ground as much as he should have. Giving passionate speeches online for impact is not enough. Having an interpersonal connection with the people you are representing is important,” said Adnan Zain, a trader in Nand Nagri.

Sami, a car service provider from northeast Delhi, accused Manoj Tiwari of a lackluster performance and claimed that the people didn’t vote for him out of gratitude but rather due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong brand value. He exuded optimism that during Manoj Tiwari’s third term, problems including trash management, drinking water, and mosquitoes would be addressed.

Chandni Chowk, Matia Mahal and Ballimaran assembly seats in Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency are three other significant Muslim-dominated localities in Delhi with vote percentages of 56.8%, 67.20% and 64.7%, respectively. The majority-Muslim district of Okhla in the East Delhi constituency had a voting percentage of 52.2%. The lower voting percentage in Delhi compared to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and 2019 was cited by numerous members of the minority community as the reason for the influence on the results.

A merchant in Ballirarmn, Sarim Ullah, alleged that many females stayed indoors and didn’t vote because of the scorching temperature. Voters in S Khan’s neighbourhood in Matia Mahal were most concerned about safety and security, based on him. He said, “We wanted a govt that treats everyone equally, besides providing security. The results were a setback for us, but I think if the voting percentage had been high, then Congress would have won the seat easily.”

A 33-year-old resident of the East Delhi constituency named Naseem shared his desire for the Aam Aadmi Party candidate’s victory, highlighting the party’s efforts to provide free bus rides for women as well as universal access to water and electricity. According to Shareef Ahmad, a resident of Govindpuri in south Delhi, the winning candidates had the backing of the electorate and the I.N.D.I. Alliance put up a fierce battle against the BJP nationwide.

The strange case of Muslim’s right to vote vs Hindu communalism

The statistics clearly indicate that a large number of Muslims supported the opposition coalition to ensure that the BJP lost. They cast their votes with the singular objective of establishing an I.N.D.I Alliance government at the centre. However, their collective desire remained unfulfilled. Interestingly, regurgitating the same rhetoric of the divisive Modi government doesn’t hold true as the community benefitted greatly from various programs offered by the centre including the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. Moreover, the Modi government even initiated multiple minority welfare schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan and Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram, among other for their development.

However, nothing was able to shatter the community’s religious glass ceiling as they once more banded together to beat the saffron party, following their age-old voting pattern. Ironically, Muslims have historically voted solely based on religious lines to support political parties like the Indian National Congress and Trinamool Congress that pander to them with outrageously contentious policies and propositions at the expense of the Indian constitution and other marginalised communities in this country. However, the second largest majority in India is quick to label those who do not conform to their religious consolidation as communal.

Everyone has the right to vote in a democracy, regardless of whether they do it in the name of religion, caste or any other factor. However, it begs the question, why the same courtesy is not extended to a BJP voter? Why is the Muslim vote classified as secular along with the parties that cater to the community but BJP and its voters as well as supporters are labelled hateful bigots? Why are there different yardsticks? Muslims have the democratic right to vote as a group while donning religious blinders, yet those same people will condemn and shame others for supporting the BJP.

Despite all the whining and bleating, no evidence of discrimination against Muslims or any other community under the Modi government has been produced. Nevertheless, there have been several cases where the governments of ‘secular’ parties have exercised bias against Hindus including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The courts and other constitutional bodies had no option but to step in to challenge the blatant discrimination.

The truth is that the opposition has been showering the Muslim community with preferential treatment and the community is not happy with the fact that the Modi government treats everyone equally. Muslims in India are feeling uneasy and unsettled because they are not used to being viewed without rose-tinted glasses of the opposition and are seen equally as other Indian citizens which is “communal” in their eyes. It’s a classic case of “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

Lok Sabha 2024

On 4th June, the Election Commission of India (ECI) declared results for 542 of the 543 constituencies that went to polls in the Lok Sabha elections 2024. The BJP has won 240 seats, and the Congress bagged 99. The BJP won significantly fewer seats in the recent election compared to the 282 seats it won in 2014 and the 303 seats it won in 2019. On the other hand, Congress saw a significant increase, gaining 99 seats compared to 52 in 2019 and 44 in 2014. The opposition bloc surpassed the 230 threshold and showed formidable opposition as it defied all exit poll predictions. However, Narendra Modi is set to return as the prime minister of India for his third historic term.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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