@Arvind Kejriwal. Do you agree with Shazia ilmi. True face of AAP is exposed . Another pro muslim party.
— s d vyas (@vdoalw) April 23, 2014
— Atheist ❤ Krishna (@Atheist_Krishna) March 18, 2014
Malerkotla, the only Muslim dominated town in the Indian side of Punjab was recently in the news, when Moti Bazaar, it’s chock-a-block, the main Market area was turned into Anarkali Bazar of Lahore, in a shooting sequence of the Kabir Khan directed Hindi film, Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer ‘Phantom’! On the last leg of his three days Punjab tour, the Aam Admi Party convenor, Arvind Kejriwalheld a road show in support of the AAP candidate there, at the “786 Chowk” in the city centre. Mr. Kejriwal started his three day Punjab sojourn, on 11 April, visiting Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, the Sikh’s holiest shrine.
According to reports: He said that he has done Ardas to “Baba Ji” at Harmandir Sahib to seek courage in removing corruption from India. He continued to greet his visitors with “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” slogans. In Punjab, he predominantly raised the issue of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. AAP Ludhiananominee H.S. Phoolka, the lawyer who fought for the Sikh victims, in the court for long, was with him.
AAP complains to EC–alleges Narendra Modi’s nomination in Varanasi cost around 6 crore rupees must be included in election expenditure
— rupashree nanda (@rupashreenanda) April 26, 2014
Malerkotla, which has around 70,000 strong Muslim population, falls in the Sangrur LS constituency. While addressing the local crowd, at Malerkotla College Road, Mr. Kejriwal stressed mainly on Muslim centred issues, its manifesto on Muslim concerns, communal harmony etc; and while he was offered a skull cap, he claimed that the wearing of the cap offered by the Muslim leaders was an honour to him. Indirectly pointing a finger to Narendra Modi…against whom he is fighting in Varanasi.
— Aam Aadmi Party (@AamAadmiParty) April 26, 2014
Before that, he visited places like Taran Taran, Batala, Gurdaspur, and Ludhiana. On the day he visited Malerkotla, he had two other road shows at Shepur and Ahmedgarh. Nowhere, he had any objection to raise slogans:”Bharat Mata Ki Jai!” And “Vande Mataram!” But in Malerkotla, he and his volunteers, conspicuously remained silent. No “Bharat Mata Ki Jai!” slogan at Malerkotla! No Vande Mataram”,the volunteers were strictly instructed.
Kejriwal At Varanasi
Those who are blaming Modi for gathering supporters at the road show in Varanasi, are ignoring the fact that the AAP volunteers from all over India has now camped in Varanasi for a month now, and many of these are paid volunteers!
Kejriwal and his party have this very practical understanding that many in the 3 Lakh Muslim population of Varanasi have a strong feeling against Narendra Modi. So to cash the sentiment, on the very first day of his visit to Varanasi, he started visiting the local Muslim Clerics and the Muslim dominated localities. In January this year, one of the major activists of AAP, the General Secretary, Sanjay Singh, visited Maulana Kalbe Jawad, a known UP Shia Cleric and the General Secretary of the All India Muslim Clerics organisations, Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind, after Muslims hinted that one of the AAP leaders, Kumar Vishwas was perceived by them, rather soft to Hindu organisations! Jawad’s organisation is reportedly holding a meeting of 500 odd imam-e-Juma (Clerics who lead the Friday Prayers) from across the State of Uttar Pradesh, to decide on supporting various party candidates. And some lobbying is already going on to consider support for Kejriwal in Varanasi, which has around 1 lakh Shia population!
As the Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind, spokesperson Adil Faraz has reportedly said, “Varanasi polls are surely on the schedule of the meeting and Clerics are sure to take a decision on the issue.” Incidentally, Maulana Kalbe Rushaid Rizwi, AAP’s candidate from the Muslim dominated Amroha Parliamentary constituency. He is personally pursuing the cause for the Party Chief Kejriwal.
The AAP Website elaborates on Rushid Rizvi: After 10 years of Aquiring Islamic Education he went to the ‘Islamic University’ in ‘Jamuri Islami'(Iran) for higher education and after the completing his course he received the ” Amama ” by Ayatollah Gulpaigaani–The Head of the ‘Hauza Ilmiya’ in Qum-Iran and He Received ‘Ijaza’ from Ayatullah Jawad Tabraizi (r.a) by the grace of god and due to his love for Ahlulbayt (a.s).”
Maulana, started his political innings earlier, with the Lok Janshakti Party of Ramvilas Paswan, in 2001.
People are questioning Kejriwal’s decision to contest from Varanasi. In fact, after his Gujarat tour and stark criticism of Gujarat Development Model for quite some time, raising of the Adani and Ambani issues repeatedly, people thought that Kejriwal would contest from Vadodara against Modi.
In fact, Congress even put a weak candidate earlier, at Vadodara, which was changed later, putting Gujarat Congress stalwart, Madhusudan Mistry, only after it became known that Kejriwal was fighting from Varanasi. After Kejriwal decided to contest from Varanasi, as it seems now, almost the entire AAP machinery has been shifted to Varanasi! Gopal Mohan, the IIT Alumnus, who has handled Kejriwal’s successful Assembly Campaign in New Delhi during, is now looking after his Varanasi campaign.
Manish Sisodia , the Patparganj MLA and Arvind Kejriwal‘s trusted aide, AAP’s Delhi Secretary, Dilip Pandey, Kapil Mishra , Durgesh Pathak and Gulab Singh are overseeing the five Assembly Constituencies that constitute the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. Karan Singh, who was handling the AAP volunteer recruitment program in Delhi, is now given the charge of recruitment and coordination with volunteers in Varanasi.AAP’s National Secretary, Pankaj Gupta, is seeing after various logistics across the constituency.
14 AAP MLA’s from Delhi and MLA Candidates who contested the 2013 Assembly Elections, also crushed to Varanasi. About 1,500 AAP activists are doing door-to-door campaigning. Many of them are paid volunteers. There are also talks of on the spot recruitment of another 3000 local volunteers. Whereas Kumar Vishwas’s campaign in Amethi has moderate AAP support, and skeletal representation of national activists.
Seeking Ansari’s Support!
When, asked about the alleged Mafia leader turned politician Mukhtar Ansari’s decision to withdraw the candidature from Varanasi, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal ambiguously replied in Amritsar.:”Congress and BJP have to be removed from the country of corruption. And for this, all the forces must join hands.”
Quami Ekta Dal’s Ansari ,the four-time MLA from Mau, is currently lodged in Agra jail in connection with murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. He has several other cases of serious nature, filed against him. Earlier, Ansari’s brother Afzal Ansari hinted that AAP representatives had already approached him seeking a possible withdrawal. While AAP denied this, and AAP spokesperson Nagendra Sharmahad said that, “No AAP office-bearer has met or held talks with Ansari or Qaumi Ekta Dal.’‘ Afzal Ansari reportedly said that he had in his possession,CCTV footage of his meeting with AAP representatives!
Ansari has a strong support base among the city’s Muslim Weavers(Ansar) community. Congress Candidate Ajai Rai has long drawn personal enmity against him. Also Congress’s traditional Muslim vote bank has now been fizzled out of SP and BSP!
While visiting Varanasi’s Muslim localities, the AAP tries to bring out the issue of Mujaffarnagar Riots and BJP’s alleged involvement in it. While in Varanasi for a month-long campaign for Lok Sabha polls., Kejriwal and his party members and volunteers, are now donning a new cap depicting the slogan ‘Main Hoon Aam Aadmi’ , in Urdu.
Soon after arriving in Varanasi, Kejriwal met Shahar-e-Kazi Ghulam Nasir and sought his support. Mufti-E-Benaras Maulana Abdul Batin Nomani, was also approached and reportedly he has viewed Kejriwal’s party as the new “hope” for the Muslims! Usman Gani, The Uttar Pradesh State In charge of Momin Conference, has been also been approached and he had reportedly said that the Aam Aadmi Party should be voted, for the sake of a ‘secular India’.
“Muslims are with us, and we are also expecting support of Kurmis as there has been a protest against Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal for tying up with the BJP,” said an enthusiastic local AAP leader. Adarsh Shastri, grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, known as a main participant in drafting AAP’s UP Vision Document; however says that his party is against any communal polarisation,. “We do not use religion as a means of politics”-he quipped.
Shajia Ilmi’s Communal Tilt
People always confirmed that Shajia Ilmi and Parveen Amanullah are the only two prominent Muslim faces in AAP and they both are urbanised ,educated, with their progressive outlook and not represent the common Muslims. Shazia Ilmi is contesting from Ghaziabad against BJP’s Gen VK Singh, the former Army Chief and Parveen Amanullah is contesting from Patna against BJP’s Shatrughan Sinha.
While contesting an Assembly seat from R K Puram, religion was not significant for Ilmi, for obvious reasons. She lost. But this time, in a video posted on YouTube, Shazia Ilmi, was seen urging the Muslim leaders, “I’m saying Muslims are very secular. Muslims need to be communal”. Presenting herself in politically correct Pallu before bearded Muslim clerics she was seen saying: “A Muslim isn’t communal – doesn’t vote for his own. Arvind Kejriwal is one of you. You are too …don’t be this secular. Look after your own homes (interests)”.
Kejriwal remained silent on the issue for several days then issued a half-baked statement that she chose the wrong words and did not mean to trigger hatred among communities for electoral benefit. Earlier also ,Kejriwal went to Bareilly before the Delhi elections to meet Maulan Tauqeer Raza Khan, the Cleric who reportedly issued a Fatwa against Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasreen and used harsh words against her!
When asked for clarification, Kejriwal said: “I went to offer prayers in Bareilly. Maulana Tauqeer Raza is a respected man, and I met him because he is the head there.” Reportedly their meeting, which was held on that Friday was two-hours long! Raja Muzaffar Bhat the Aam Aadmi Party candidate against sitting MP from the Srinagar ,Farooq Abdullah had earlier resigned from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He had resigned from the party to protest against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru! Now he is also facing charges of assaulting a woman in 2010.
The Muslim leader Kamal Farooqui, who was ousted from the SP following his controversial remark that Yasin Bhatkal, the alleged co-founder of Indian Mujahideen, was arrested primarily because he was a Muslim!He was about to join AAP and reportedly met Kejriwal. After the inner party protest his joining was halted for the rime.
AAP Looking Up For Voteshare
It is estimated that the Muslim community’s vote can influence directly and indirectly, 100-150 Lok Sabha Seats. With 35 seats, they number around one in three voters or more. In 38 other seats, Muslims are 21-30% of the electorate. There were however only 30 Muslim Members in the last Lok Sabha, just 5.5% of its 543 seats. In a bid to impress the Muslims, AAP has given tickets for 8.6% or 37 of its 426 seats to Muslims as compared to 6.5% by Congress and barely 1.4% by BJP. The party has also fielded a considerable number of Muslim candidates from Uttar Pradesh. But how reliable and winnable are the candidates are to be seen. Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin, who was to fight against Sonia Gandhi in Rai Bareilly had withdrawn his candidature. Several other candidates In UP have returned their AAP tickets . Prominent among them are Iliyas Aazmi from Lakhimpur Khiri, Iqbal Mustafa from Faizabad, and Khalid Pervez from Moradabad.
Desperately Seeking Support
Despite sending several feelers, the support of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Imam to Congress has disappointed AAP. It was expecting to dent Congress’s remaining support base in Delhi’s Muslim dominated areas. During the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Congress had won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and 78% of Muslim voters had voted for the party. The last Assembly Elections in Delhi saw a division in Muslim votes between the Congress and the AAP, which hurt the Congress badly.
AAP was harping on the fact. In Mumbai also, AAP tried to garnish Muslim clergy’s support for all its candidates. But Rashed Azeem, the President of the Milli Council (Mumbai Unit), had announced that Milli Council would support for only two AAP candidates Medha Patkar in North East and Mayank Gandhi in North West Mumbai. But the Milli council would support for Congress Candidates in remaining four Mumbai constituencies.
At the same time, another Muslim organisation, Iqra International Women’s Alliance’sPresident Uzma Nahid had endorsed her support for the AAP. Maulana Jalaluddin Omari, the Amir (The National President) of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) had said recently that, if the AAP offers a tangible programme for the Muslims, Muslims will consider supporting AAP(Musalman AAP ke bare men ghaur kar sakte hain). The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Election Manifesto has now addressed some of the Muslim concerns.
It has promised in its Manifesto that terrorism related cases against Muslims will be decided within six months and police officials found guilty of harassment will be punished. Devoting an entire section to “Security and non-discrimination of Muslims”, AAP pledged to end false cases against Muslim youth and improve quality of education in the community. “Judicial reforms to ensure that cases are decided within six months,” was one of the main points of the section.
The party also called for a review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.This all started in a phased manner, after the Muzaffarnagar Riots. In March this year, while addressing the Muslim community at Delhi’s ‘India Islamic Centre’ to present a road map for Muslims, Kejriwal faced huge protests from the audience that he was not doing enough for the community, except paying the lip service!
Until then Kejriwal was not sure that he was fighting against Modi! But at this conference, AAP significantly shifted its stance by committing that: Communalism is a bigger threat than Corruption!
By Deep Basu
Photo Courtesy: nydailynews.com
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