By Raza Hasnain Naqvi
It is that glorious time of the season when leaders of all shapes, colours, beliefs, inclinations and perceptions come out of the closet. Election season forces them to accept your existence as a voter. Leaders of all political hues and backing become all earnest and assume that charming at-your-service-24/7 attitude that always fails to please. With polling season here in India in full swing and General Elections 2014 all set to happen from 7th April to 12th May, the fight for each vote assumes elephantine proportions.
It is at this time, one gets to hear a number of solemn voices on different public platforms, both offline and online, talking about ‘The Muslim Vote’. It is also delightfully called ‘The Muslim Votebank’ – which seems to be a wonderful panacea for all poll calculation and seat-acquisition problems faced by any political party worth its salt and symbol.
And since, a Higher Power decided that I should be born in an Indian Muslim family and be part of ‘The Muslim Vote’ one fine day, so here I am, standing at a crossroads with my precious vote in my hand. I can hear the beep of electronic voting machines.
I do know that everyone with a topi wants my vote and yours too, by the way. So, I’ll give it willingly, with a small rider.
Can political party supported or Independent candidates of Lok Sabha Elections 2014 give their honest answers to a few nagging questions that me, the Muslim has, before I hand over my vote to you?
- How many Muslims are there in your locality and constituency?
- How many schoolgoing Muslim boys and girls are there in your locality and constituency?
- How many graduate Muslim boys and girls are there in your locality and constituency?
- Have you ever addressed a gathering of such educated Muslim boys and girls in your locality and constituency?
- Have you ever had a Question & Answer session type of meeting with invited affluent Muslim families in your locality and constituency?
- Have you ever had a Question & Answer session type of meeting with invited Below Poverty Line (BPL) Muslim families in your locality and constituency?
- Have you ever had a Question & Answer session with religious heads/clerics/Maulanas of all different sects of Muslims sitting together in your locality and constituency?
- What are the top three problems that Muslims face in your locality?
- What are the top three problems that Muslims face in your constituency?
- Do you think Muslims are better off accepting employment schemes or education schemes?
- Who is better for India? An educated Muslim or a rich Muslim? Why?
- Do you think reservation is important for Muslims? Why?
- What do you think about caste-based voting in elections? Does it happen? For example: Muslims will vote only for Muslims, Hindus for Hindus, Sikhs for Sikhs, Christians for Christians, Thakurs for Thakurs, Yadavs for Yadavs.
- What do you think of a vote fatwa where a Muslim religious head may urge his followers to vote for a particular candidate?
- Name three of your best Muslim friends and why they are present in your life.
Parting Question: Dear candidate of Elections 2014, I agree I may have put you in a spot with these questions. But don’t you think, if I get decent answers to these questions, my mind would be at peace giving you my Muslim vote?
Raza likes to share snippets of his life experiences and observations through his writings. This blogpost is the Day-7 post of his 15-day trial of daily blogging. Besides his social media footprints on twitter, facebook, instagram and Google+, he can also be reached on his email: bylineraza[at]gmail[dot]com
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