For decades, the Congress party has treated Muslims as vote bank. The party wins the Muslim votes by instigating the fear of BJP and takes the community for granted.
Taking the Muslim votes for granted is very much visible in Congress’s ticket distribution in Bihar where the party has not fielded a single candidate from the community.
“Congress thinks minorities are like bonded labourers and believes that people will do as the party thinks. Everyone can see the way they have treated minorities. Now voters are intelligent to take their steps,” said Aas Mohammad, a Patna based voter.
The strategy of the Congress party is to bag as many Hindu votes as it can by fielding candidates of dominant Hindu castes on particular seats, and that combined with Muslims votes- who are going to vote for the party irrespective of the candidate- is going to pave the way for party’s victory. Moreover, it wants to get rid of the Muslim party as BJP has repeatedly painted as the party of a specific community which resulted in a shift of Muslim votes to other parties.
This strategy is used by many ‘secular’ parties in many states, but Congress remains the father of this blatant vote bank politics.
Muslims vote for any party that is best placed to defeat BJP. The single-minded strategy and focus of Muslim clergy, who have considerable say in whom the community votes for, is to defeat BJP. And therefore, they make a rough calculation of which is better placed to defeat BJP and tell the masses to vote for those candidates. So, the parties change depending on state and type of election- local, assembly, general- but the strategy for the clergy of the Muslim community remains the same. For decades, Muslims voted for Congress in the general elections to keep BJP out of power.
Even though Congress tries to portray itself as the leading proponent of Muslim rights, the party has been the most instrumental in keeping the Muslims backwards. The Sachar Committee report on the social, economic and educational condition of Muslims in India that was tabled before the Parliament in 2006, had explicitly mentioned a number of impediments faced by the Muslims.
The report also mentioned that the Muslims were below the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in terms of backwardness. Their per-capita income was also the lowest among all communities. Moreover, their employment is also miserably low. Muslims have remained miserably backwards and poor under dominant Congress rule up to 2006. Congress not only has blood on its hands but is also responsible for keeping Muslims economically and socially marginalized.
The vote bank politics of Congress has kept the Muslim community poor and backward for decades. The community is actually held to ransom by small tiny elite upper-caste Muslims who claim to have Arabic and Persian origins. The Pasmanda Muslims (backward caste Muslims) who constitute around 90 per cent of the population has no representation in priestly-political-bureaucratic class.
Most of the Pasmanda Muslims are domestic converts, and they continue to be colonized by the invaders who corner all the governmental scheme’s benefits while keeping the large majority in the vicious cycle of Madrasa and informal jobs.
In the Bihar election too, the small priestly class will convince the majority that it is pertinent to vote for Congress to defeat BJP and that is why the party did not find it necessary to field candidates from the community.
“Those who claim to be champion of secularism and accusing us to be communal do not even have a single seat but we have given 10 per cent tickets to Muslims. How can you prosper without considering 16 per cent of the state’s population,” JD(U) leader Ajay Alok told ANI.
In the last few years, the Muslim voters have moved to other ‘secular’ parties, many of which are offshoots of Congress and continue to use grand old party’s formula to fear psychosis to woo Muslims. These parties take Muslims votes for granted while fielding candidates of the dominant Hindu caste to get a sizable chunk of Hindu votes in order to win elections. And this vicious vote bank politics has kept the majority of Muslims poor and backward since decades.