Buoyed by success in 2014 State Assembly polls where it managed to win two seats, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s efforts to make strong inroads in the upcoming BMC polls has further widened the possibility of division of Muslim votes, say political experts.
Former chief of Mumbai Congress’ minority cell, Nizamuddin Rayeen, who recently quit the party alleging biases, said, “Muslim leaders are themselves divided and very insecure. Therefore, expecting them to do something positive for the community would be like cheating our own selves.”
“A Muslim leader can be either a corporator, MP or an MLA but he can never become leader of the masses,” he said.
Out of 227 corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), there are 21 Muslim councillors with 10 belonging to Congress, five to Samajwadi Party, two are with NCP, three independent, while one with others.
Notably, there are no Muslim corporators in ruling parties BJP and Shiv Sena.
Senior journalist Imtiyaz Manzoor Ahmed said the next month’s election is going to be ambiguous for the voters.
“Muslim voters were already divided between Congress and Samajwadi Party and to make things more complicated, one more party (referring to Hyderabad-based AIMIM) has entered. Voters have become more confused and this is going to led to further division of votes resulting in less representation of leaders in the state politics,” Ahmed said.
“Voices of people from the community will go unheard and their sorry state is only going to worsen,” he lamented.As per 2011 Census, Muslims account for 20 per cent population in the city.
Noted Islamic scholar Zeenat Shaukat Ali said that entry of the new party in the run for BMC elections in going to further confuse voters.
“Entry of one more party is certainly going to put voters in a fix, though, the intention might be to put forth an alternative for them,” she said.
“Muslims are already facing hardships like lack of quality education, unemployment, beside facing discrimination in getting jobs or a house,” she said.