Reactions of state’s Muslim leaders to the ascendancy of Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi appear to be riding on a “hope” but not without some reservations.
Several leaders, speaking to this correspondent, expressed their view on the BJP’s “chance” to make use of the “responsibility” that the people of the country have vested on it by giving the political party a clear majority, seen for the first time in three decades.
“The Modi government should ensure that there is no change in the fundamentals of the Indian Constitution,” said Imam of Nakhoda Masjid, Maulana Shafique Qasmi. He, however, cautioned the government against sticking “to its agenda of Hindutva”. “(If that happens) we will have to look for legal ways to defend that,” he said, while asserting that “the people have given the BJP a chance and it was their responsibility to use it well”, a view also shared by Siddiqullah Chowdhury, prominent Muslim leader and general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind.
Chowdhury believes that the BJP’s responsibility has “increased both in the State and at the Centre”.
“They have to prove now that they are truly a secular party which they had been claiming. If issues like Ram Mandir are raked up again, they would lose their credibility. The new government should also look into the minorities’ demand for reservations and security if they want to sustain their reign for another term,” Chowdhury said.
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There are some, however, who see the BJP’s win and its performance in the state as “shocking” and attribute it to the “betrayal” by a number of smaller parties. Not mincing words, Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan Masjid, Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, said: “People like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Arvind Kejriwal have betrayed the Muslims. They were agents of Narendra Modi in disguise. A large number of Muslims, too, voted for him. Now let us see what he (Modi) does for the Muslims.”
On the other hand, some leaders attribute the BJP’s success to “a joint effort of its organisational strength, influence of the intellectuals and the monetary support of several multi-national companies”.
“Some of the strongest MNCs across the globe wanted Modi to become the PM and had backed him fiercely.
We can now hope that the Modi government would live up to all the assurances of development, peace and secularism,” said Md Nooruddin, president, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
And while the ruling party in the state, Trinamool Congress, did come up with flying colours, winning 34 of the 42 parliamentary seats in the state, Nooruddin said he believes “the outstanding result is because of the widespread manipulation in terms of booth capturing and rigging”.
“If they think they can retain this with the help of muscle power, they need to rethink. The result was better also because the Left Front failed to correctly analyse why people had abandoned them.
“The success of the BJP (which won two seats and clocked a significant number of votes in most of the constituencies) here is because many people were fed up with the TMC and were looking for an alternative which they found in the BJP,” Nooruddin said.