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Angry Azamgarh picks up a weapon: vote — for Ulema

Underlinging its “anger against all political parties” and its “solidarity”,the Lalganj parliamentary constituency housing the native village of the two youths killed in Delhi’s Batla House encounter today voted en masse...

Written by Sanjay Singh | Sanjarpur (azamgarh) |
April 17, 2009 2:38:43 am

Underlinging its “anger against all political parties” and its “solidarity”,the Lalganj parliamentary constituency housing the native village of the two youths killed in Delhi’s Batla House encounter today voted en masse for a candidate put up by the Ulema Council.

Initially,there was talk of a boycott,but finally the largely Muslim voters of the reserved constituency decided to turn up in support for the Council’s Chandu Saroj,knowing that there was little chance of him winning. They wanted to send out the message that they had lost faith in all political parties,they said in one voice.

While Sanjarpur in this constituency hit the headlines after the Batla House encounter,Beenapara and Sarai Mir villages are barely 10 km away. Beenapara was in the news after one of its natives,Mufti Abu Bashar,was picked up by the Gujarat police in connection with the Ahmedabad blasts. Sarai Mir is the native place of jailed underworld don Abu Salem.

“We are not bothered about the victory of our candidate. We are not thekedars (contractors) whose task is to ensure the defeat of BJP candidates across the nation. Ye election apni unity ke liye hai,” said Rizwan Ahemad,Sanjarpur’s pradhan for the last 18 years.

With more than 80 per cent of Sanjarpur’s 4,679 voters Muslims,polling agents of other parties took it easy today,knowing their appeals would fall on deaf ears. “It is the BJP vs Ulema. People are voting on the same lines,” BJP leader Jitendra Gupta said,claiming the party had little to worry in Sanjarpur.

While the sense of outrage over Batla House may be the glue holding them together,the community says they have long felt isolated in the current political situation. “Dalits have their own party — the BSP. Yadavs have their Samajwadi Party. So the Muslims must form their own party,” said Aheshan Ahemad Daudi,a committed Congress voter for 40 years.

Aheshan’s friend Azazuddin nodded in agreement,saying the approach of voting for the candidate who could defeat the BJP “had already done a great damage to us”.

In Sarai Mir,where more than 50 per cent of the 5,285 voters are Muslims and which has always supported the SP,the Ulema Council is being seen as a much-needed “experiment”. “Many leaders of both the BSP and SP approached us to drop the idea of supporting the Ulema Council. Irada nahin badla (We did not change our mind),” said Mumtaj Ahemad.

Even the BSP’s Sarai Mir leader,Azam Advocate,admits that more than 70 per cent of the Muslim vote may have gone to the Council. “But the BSP has got its share,” he added.

Beenapara’s 2,000-plus voters also saw today’s election as a chance to show their “strength”. “We too have guts and we won’t bow down before anyone. This is a long battle,” said Abu Khair.

The Principal of Beenapara’s Inter College,Abu Sifiyan Khan,called the Ulema Council an attempt to create a separate unit for the Muslims.

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