October 21, 2014 1:15:46 am
The electoral performance of the Majlis-e-Ittihadul Muslimeen, which traces its legacy to the infamous Razakar’s of the erstwhile Hyderabad dominion, is set to create consternation among parties like the Congress and the NCP which had been relying on the support of Muslims.
An analysis of the votes polled by the Muslim candidates in this election shows that 18 Muslim candidates put up by the MIM have garnered nearly 23 per cent of the total 19 lakh votes that Muslim candidates got. The Congress and the NCP’s Muslim candidates have polled in 31 and 21 per cent of the total votes polled by Muslim candidates. Incidentally, in 2009 Muslim candidates put up by the Congress and the NCP accounted for over 70 per cent of votes that Muslim candidates received. The figures suggest that the MIM has been successful in their attempt to wean away the Muslim voters from the Congress and offer them a new option.
“There is a growing disillusionment amongst Muslims over what are perceived to be empty promises of the ruling combine. The older lot amongst the community still feel that the Congress is the only entity that can take on communal parties, however the younger lot believes that traditional parties have taken the community for a ride and many of them have ended up supporting the MIM,” senior journalist Shahid Latif said.
However, the performance of the party has created a sense of foreboding in many Muslims who believe that the perceived image of the party being a divisive force could seriously affect the peace and stability.
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“Only two MLAs of the MIM have been elected but look at the eyeballs that they have attracted. The tenor of most of the media has been alarmist. I fear that the emergence of the MIM will give fodder to those who seek to tarnish the community and an opportunity for divisive forces to gang up against Muslims,” Mohammed Shahid a social worker from Aurangabad from where a MIM candidate was elected said.
The legacy of the MIM has made the party more susceptible towards allegations that it has a divisive agenda. The Owaisi family was handed over the helm of the party by Qasim Rizvi in the late 1950s who headed the Razakars, the dreaded militia wing which opposed the annexation of Hyderabad dominion with India. The Owaisi clan has been further mired in controversy due to the assassination attempt on Akbaruddin Owaisi and his violent demonstration against noted writer Taslima Nasreen. His vitriolic speeches calling for a face-off between Hindus and Muslims and denigration of Hindu deities has also inflamed passions.
His elder brother Asaduddin Owaisi who bagged the Sansad Ratna award for his work as a parliamentarian, however, defends the party’s actions. “How can raising issues that affect the Muslim community be called divisive. We are raising genuine grievances of the community which no one is keen to address,” Asaduddin said.
Meanwhile, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai said, “Minority communalism is not the answer if you want to tackle the communalism of the majority. The MIM, if it persists with its present agenda, will make the Muslims head into a confrontation with the majority and this is not in the benefit of the community.”
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