The overwhelming mandate in favour of the BJP has thrown the spotlight on the future of political discourse in the country vis-a-vis the religious minorities.
This, in fact, dominated conversations among namazis leaving the Jama Masjid after the Friday prayers. While some found the change of power equations disturbing, others chose to wait and watch.
Shahi Imam Bukhari, who had announced support for the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, chose to keep politics out of his Khutba. But for the locals, BJP’s clean sweep in the capital, and in several other states, was was they spoke about.
Imanullah, a shopkeeper who helps out at the mosque every Friday, said although the verdict was disappointing, BJP’s victory was not surprising at all. “There was no chance of the Congress winning this seat. They had done nothing for the Muslims. Take a walk in these streets and you will see how their claims of development have fallen flat,” he said.
But BJP’s promise of development too is not welcome for some. Among them are rickshaw pullers in the walled city who feel that development may leave them deprived of their livelihood.
“Every politician works for his benefit. I don’t know what else to expect,” Ashfaq, a rickshaw puller, said.
There are yet others who harbour hopes of a Congress revival in the Delhi Assembly elections.
Zeeshan Ahmad in Meena Bazaar said for a “sense of security”, he was willing to give the Congress another chance. “We gave the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a mandate in Delhi, but they did not respect that. We didn’t vote for the Congress in the parliamentary elections, but I would like to give them another chance in Delhi.”
While wary of Narendra Modi, there were some who did have expectations from the BJP.
Recollecting Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s reign, Amina said, “Of course there is the memory of Babri Masjid and there is the question of how the BJP will treat Muslims. We do not have any expectations from Modi, but from the BJP, I do.”