Muslims leaders didn’t shudder at the proclamation of Narendra Modi, the BJP’s 2014 election mascot, as the party’s presumptive prime minister. Every which way, the arithmetic, they said, was skewed against Modi and that he would have to face a bulwark of not only a majority of Muslims but also the so-called secular parties.
“This was expected, but I don’t think the majority of Indians will vote for such a divisive man who doesn’t understand and respect diversity and pluralism. He won’t be able to lead this country,” said Asaduddin Owaisi, the outspoken MP from Hyderabad.
A section of Muslim leaders said 2014, when a general election is due, would be a watershed. “This will be referendum on whether India will accept fascism or democracy,” said Mohd Salim Engineer, the national secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
The sense is that Muslims, India’s largest minority, who get more than a fair share of wooing in elections, may impact the elections by voting as a bloc, although experts say there’s little evidence of the so-called “Muslim vote”.
“The BJP has dug its own grave,” Kamal Farooqui, an SP leader said.