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No Muslim candidate, no vote

delhi Updated: May 09, 2009 00:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
No Muslim candidate

At 52 per cent, the voter turnout in the Capital might have been the highest in 18 years but final figures show that Muslim pockets across the city did not come out to vote in large numbers.

Polling in a majority of Muslim pockets like Okhla, Tughlaqabad, Mustafabad, Seelampur, Matia Mahal varied between 40.75 per cent and 51.70 per cent.

Traditionally, Muslim pockets in the Capital always witness a high polling percentage. For instance Seelampur had registered 60 per cent polling during last year’s Assembly elections. So did Mustafabad and Okhla at 58.25 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively.

“This time around Muslim voters weren’t very enthusiastic. Unlike Assembly elections, where minority-dominated areas saw aggressive voting, this time the two main political parties had not put Muslim candidates in the fray. In Assembly elections the voter was spoilt for choice for every party had a candidate from the minority community,” said a senior Congress leader.

According to another poll analyst, parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had put Muslim candidates in the fray from Chandni Chowk, Northeast and East constituencies but they failed to cut ice with the voters. “The voters know that the BSP has a limited presence in the Capital and did not want to waste their vote,” said a poll analyst.

The withdrawal of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) candidate Shoaib Iqbal could have also played a role in Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha segment. “Iqbal was a popular candidate. His decision to withdraw might have also resulted in voters keeping away,” said another poll analyst.

Chatter Singh, a senior Congress leader said: “Many Muslim families in the city are from western Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This being the wedding season, many of them had gone back to their family homes, thereby giving voting a miss. This could be another factor for the low turnout.”