There are three lakh Muslim voters in Varanasi and the widespread perception is that Muslims will vote for Arvind Kenriwal to defeat Modi.
The role of the Election Commission in India has been laudable; its impartiality accepted by all. But some of its recent actions have invited comment. Inquilab, on April 22, writes: “The statements of the BJP candidate from Nawada, Giriraj Singh, and VHP leader Pravin Togadia are such that they should be immediately arrested and prosecuted under the strictest provisions of the law to bring them to justice. These people are threatening Muslims in particular and opponents of Narendra Modi in general… But it is them who should be exiled because they have neither committed to the Constituion nor do they have any respect for centuries old culture of harmony.
Jamat-e-Islami’s bi-weekly, Daawat, in a comment on April 16 on the politics of hate, writes: “undoubtedly, a large section of society has never liked those who play politics of hate and spread hatred amongst the people… The environment keeps on getting vitiated and riots take place. But people in the majority, who dislike the politics of hate, keep silent. If this silent majority comes out openly, this would disappear.”
Delhi-based Roznama Khabrein, on April 16, writes: “Transgenders are the most-marginalised section of society… They had important responsibilites in imperial cities and households. But with the passage of time, their condition has become pitiable. Now the Supreme Court has given a historic judgment and transgenders are likely to get much-needed relief. Their struggle has slowly but eventually borne fruit”.
Shakeel Shamsi, the editor of Inquilab, in his signed column on April 21, writes: “The Supreme Court has ordered to accord the facilities to the transgender community that are given to backward classes. This has sent a wave of happiness amongst transgenders…” Inquilab has also spoken of the need for the courts to act against those forcibly mutilating private parts and subjecting victims to complete “indignity and torture”.
Delhi-based Nai Duniya, edited by former SP leader Shahid Siddiqui, (April 21-27) writes that: “For the BJP, winning Uttar Pradesh is easy, but Varanasi is difficult… The question is, of what value would a UP victory be for BJP if its commander-in-chief is forced to bite the dust.” The paper adds: “Ajay Rai, the Congress candidate, has deep-rooted influence on voters of Varanasi. He belongs to the Bhumihar biradari and has considerable Brahmin support too. Congress has played an important role in bringing Ansari and Rai together.”
Conversely, Masoom Moradabadi, in his column in Jadeed Khabar on April 20, writes: “By not contesting from Varanasi, Ansari has prevented a split in Muslim votes to a great extent. There are three lakh Muslim voters in Varanasi and the widespread perception is that Muslims will vote for Arvind Kenriwal to defeat Modi.”
Compiled by Seema Chishti