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Votes United, Stand Divided: Mamata polled Muslim votes ‘due to work done, lack of option’

TMC MP and leader of the minority cell Idris Ali said that people have foiled the joint attempt of Congress and the Left Front that tried its bit to spread rumours about the party having an “understanding with the BJP”.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Updated: May 20, 2016 5:15:02 am
CM Mamata Banerjee with Siddiquallah Chowdhury during West Bengal State Jamiat-e-Ulama programme at Shahid Minar, Kolkata on November 26, 2015. Express photo by Partha Paul. CM Mamata Banerjee with Siddiquallah Chowdhury during West Bengal State Jamiat-e-Ulama programme at Shahid Minar, Kolkata on November 26, 2015. Express photo by Partha Paul.

One of the factors behind the Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress registering a landslide victory in the assembly election Thursday is the unequivocal support from Muslims who comprise about 29 per cent of the state’s voting population.

Besides winning four seats in Muslim-dominated Murshidabad, which has traditionally been a Congress bastion, the incumbent also played a huge gambit by pitching newly inducted Muslim leaders such as Abdur Razzak Molla and Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind leader Siddiqullah Chowdhury from Bhangore and Mangalkot, respectively. The gambit, however, paid rich dividends as both leaders handsomely beat their opponents.

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TMC MP and leader of the minority cell Idris Ali said that people have foiled the joint attempt of Congress and the Left Front that tried its bit to spread rumours about the party having an “understanding with the BJP”.

“Muslims voted for development, keeping in mind the works done by Mamata Banerjee, which include stipend to students and honorarium to Imams. People ignored the attempts to taint the TMC’s image.” Ali said.

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Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid in central Kolkata, said he had predicted over 200 seats for the TMC. “I campaigned for Mamata in various parts of the state. She has done a lot for the education and employment of Muslims in Bengal and her party is the only force capable of stopping RSS here,” he said.

Shafique Qasmi, Imam, Nakhoda Masjid, said people voted for the TMC for its “secular credentials” and the work it has done. “The party now has even greater responsibility towards the minorities,” he said.

Also read: ‘This isn’t any victory, this is vindication’: TMC supporters

TMC’s victory in Muslim-dominated regions dates back to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the party emerged victorious in nine of the 11 Assembly constituencies in Birbhum whose Muslim population is around 37 per cent. Similarly, in South 24 Parganas (35.5 per cent), the party won 29 of 31 constituencies and in the five districts of north and south Bengal (over 25 per cent), 72 of the 81 constituencies.

The Thursday’s victory, however, did not please everyone.

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Md Qamruzzaman, general secretary, All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, blamed the CPM for the huge mandate to the ruling party. “In the last five years, the CPM could not come close to the minority population; neither did it pay attention to their problems. People in Bengal don’t look for a change after every term. It is to be ensured by the new government now that the interest of the minorities are to be looked into,” he said.

Also read: For BJP in West Bengal, win some, lose some: vote share down, seat count up

Md Nooruddin, president, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said Mamata worked and therefore people voted for her. “But I believe that while many temporary

gains were ensured for the minority community, the party will have to think about the long-term development plans as well. Madrasa education needs focus and there has to be more Muslims appointed in government jobs,” he said.

Qari Fazlur Rahman, Imam who leads the Red Road namaz during Eid, had accused Mamata in the past of making “false claims” that her government has completed “99 per cent of the work she had promised for Muslims”. He said the Wednesday’s verdict has been decided by the people and “we would have to accept it”.

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“But it is also true that the minority members did not have any other option because the Opposition didn’t have any agenda for the Muslims. The TMC has done a lot for the community and we hope it does whatever remains to be done as well,” Rahman told The Indian Express.

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