The role of the minority community in the crucial elections for the UP Assembly continues to be the subject of much discussion. Many papers are giving indications that Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party could prove to be the dark horse, despite there being focus on the campaigns of the BJP and the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance.
Roznama Khabrein, in its editorial on February 17, writes: “Great enthusiasm was seen among Muslims in the Muslim-majority areas in the second phase of the election. A record 71 per cent polling in Saharanpur indicates that the people are not for or against any particular formation. They have a belief in expressing their preference; political parties are unable to judge their mood. The SP has claimed victory in these areas. But the silent voter of Mayawati cannot be overlooked — he is not seen on screens or in newspapers, but is very quietly standing behind the elephant. If even 50 per cent of the minority vote goes to her, Mayawati’s game-plan will succeed.”
Rehnuma-e-Deccan, in its editorial on February 10, writes: “This is the time for Mayawati to win the hearts of Muslims with an open mind. If she succeeds in doing so, the ongoing election in UP would become the cause for the growth in her stature as a national leader. She has to make a declaration with full force and sincerity that incidents like Dadri and Muzaffarnagar will not be repeated at any cost and the state government under her will maintain peace and harmony, come what may. She would also have to make every sacrifice necessary to attract to the BSP those sections of the people who have now got associated with SP or BJP due to their religious sentiments.”
Inquilab, in a commentary on February 13, writes: “The effect of the war within the SP is not going to be neutralised soon… The demonetisation factor too may tilt the balance against the BJP and in favour of the BSP.”
With Sasikala away from Tamil Nadu serving a jail sentence, journalist and litterateur, Hasan Kamal, in his signed column in Inquilabon February 20, writes: “Sasikala’s drama has been stopped, at least for some years. But that does not mean the drama in Tamil Nadu will cease. This drama has still to show many colours. In our view, it would not stop in the state till President’s Rule is not imposed.”
Rashtriya Sahara, in its editorial on February 16, writes: “After a jail sentence was awarded to Sasikala many political upheavals are being predicted in Tamil Nadu. According to political observers, there is no big name left in the AIADMK’s leadership. Therefore, Karunanidhi’s DMK may get the opportunity to come to the centre-stage of politics in Tamil Nadu.The BJP-led central government is only interested how it can win the favour of Lok Sabha MPs from the state and use them whenever the need arises.”
The daily Sahafat, in its editorial on the same day, criticised the Supreme Court for not taking a serious view of the Madras High Court having upturned the trial court’s judgement in the case of Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and others. It writes: “The Supreme Court has praised the (lower) trial court for convicting Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, etc. It has also said that the Madras High Court had erred in acquitting these accused. The SC should have spoken in detail about the mistake made by the Madras High Court and should have indicted the High Court in some manner for its error.”
Minority to majority
There have been sharp reactions to the statement from Union minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, that the population of Hindus is decreasing whereas that of Muslims is increasing. Sahafat, in its editorial on February 15, writes: “The proportion of Hindus is so high in India that there is no question of the Muslim population reaching that level at any time in the future. But the majority community is, from time to time, being made to fear the possibility of their turning into a minority if the Muslim population continues to increase at the present rate. Now that Mr Rijiju has talked about the decreasing and increasing rates of the populations of Hindus and Muslims respectively, it is being said that he is trying to benefit his own party in the forthcoming elections for some state assemblies with this type of a statement.”
Roznama Khabrein, in its editorial on February 16, writes: “The psychology of fear gives birth to hatred and both these things provide fodder to prejudices. The present statement is important as elections are being held in sensitive states like UP and all attempts at communal polarisation have so far failed. Even if Rijiju’s intention is not to give a communal shape to the election, such statements can add fuel to the fire.”
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