Amit Shah's Muslim-bashing finds echo among many in UP

Hindus at large in Uttar Pradesh appear unhappy with Samajwadi Party and blame Muslims for bringing it in power. For them, a BJP government at the Centre seems to be the only solution

shivangi-narayan

Shivangi Narayan | April 7, 2014



It is not just Amit Shah who wants voters to teach the perpetrators of Muzaffarnagar riots a lesson by voting for the BJP. Many a Hindu voters in Uttar Pradesh think this is the only way to curb the rising power of Muslims in the state, which is due to the Muslim ‘appeasement’ policies of the Samajwadi Party government.

“I don’t have a problem with Muslims, but they seem to be forgetting their place here and it is all because of the present SP government,” says a property dealer in Lucknow.

If popular sentiment is to be believed, Muslims are asserting themselves in UP, which is not a good sign for the Hindu majority. For a lot of Lucknowites, the SP goon population is entirely composed of uneducated Muslim youths in the city. A population which derives its power from the pro-Muslim Samajwadi Party.

“It is due to the Muslim votes that SP is in power in UP today, else there was no way it was ever forming government again in the state,” a shopkeeper in Lalbagh area says. “Now we have to pay the price for it. Suddenly they are everywhere."

This, however, is not entirely true. The Muslims in UP, with the exception of some pockets of Shias and maybe some urban voters, have always voted for SP. The landslide victory for SP in 2012, wining 224 out of 403 seats, could not have been possible with only Muslims and it is well documented that the entire lot of Brahmin-Thakur vote played a crucial role.

This misplaced angst against Muslims in the state gives considerable advantage to BJP, a party known for its anti-Muslim stand, howsoever much it might cloak it in the development agenda. Amit Shah might have simply articulated the popular opinion.

Strong reactions against assertion of marginalised communities are not surprising. Muslims today are in a position to influence elections, which is evident from the way all parties are clamouring for their share of the Muslim pie. It should be seen as one step closer for the community to convert this bargaining power to development and not one step closer for Muslim domination.

As far as SP goons and its lawlessness go, the government has been elected almost unanimously by the people of UP. If they are sorry about it now, they all have to share the blame for it and not just Muslims. And if Modi government is going to be in power to “teach them a lesson” and put Muslims “their place”, it might be time for the party to remove its garb of its policy of development.

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