Muslims voters in Lucknow are keeping their cards close to chest in the wake of new political equations emerging in the state.
“They (Muslims voters) are not opening up as they did in previous elections,” said Hasan Mehdi of All-India Shia Hussain Fund. His claim is based on a survey conducted by his organisation in different parts of Uttar Pradesh including the state capital. “The survey suggests that Muslim votes would be distributed among the BSP, SP and the Congress,” he said, adding that they cannot be taken for granted.
A cross-section of Muslim electorate too agreed with the survey outcome. An academician Hussain Mohsin Zaidi said that the recent violence would sure have an impact on the voting pattern. “Nowadays voters cannot be taken for a ride,” he said adding that though a few religious leaders owed their allegiance to some political parties, people would use their wisdom to vote.
“Emergence of a strong Congress this time and the recent violence in the city have added a new dimension to the poll,” said Nawab Mir Jaffar Abdullah of Awadh’s royal family. According to him, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too would get a fair share of Muslims votes for having fielded a large number of Muslims. There are some four lakh Muslim voters in eight constituencies in Lucknow.
Dr Usman Kausar, KGMU professor, said that the sole objective of the Muslims would be to vote against the BJP. It would also be a tightrope walk for the SP in the city, he said.
Another resident Maulana Urujul Hasan Meesam said as an individual he would vote for an honest person working in the interest of the country. “My vote would be for an individual and not for the “face” of a party, he said. Prof Sarvat Taqi said voting this time would be “tactical.” He explained: “Tactical” means voting against the BJP for the sake of the country”. Muslims feel that the country should be united and not divided, he said.
Shia College Principal M S Naqvi hoped that good candidates irrespective of their parties would scrape through. Bilal Khan of Nakkhas area said though curfew though was lifted today, as of now there wasn’t enough enthusiasm among the voters. They may take a bit more time to come out of the shock. Advocate Hamza Abdi felt that the riot would have a direct impact on the poll.