THE MUSLIM VOTE-BANK-ABHAS CHATTERJEE

The Muslim Vote-Bank

Muslims are simply amused when the RSS shows sympathetic concern over their being vote-banks of the Congress. For, the Muslims know that vote-banking is the main pillar of their political strength. Ability to exercise a collective voting power, loosely referred to as a vote-bank, has given Muslims a political leverage far beyond what is deserved by their percentage in the population of India. Muslims have been a political community from the very beginning and are politically and communally conscious by tradition. This consciousness about what they perceive as their communal interest is reflected in India through their voting as a community.

Muslims are 12% of India�s population but command 14-15% of her votes because, unlike Hindus, they get themselves registered as voters during revision of electoral rolls not only exhaustively but also excessively (by duplication of names, exaggeration of age, fictitious additions etc.). As a proportion of valid votes polled in an election, the Muslim share is still higher at 16-18% because a much higher percentage of Muslims exercise their franchise than Hindus. On top of this, they generally vote collectively according to some definite plan decided in advance which they trust would serve their communal interests.4

By contrast, Hindus command over 80% of Indian votes, but are unable to form a vote-bank because, owing to inadequate political consciousness and lack of perception of community interests, they are unable to vote as a community.

The combined effect of these contrasting responses of the two communities leads to a democratic paradox in India. Elections generally end in results that accord with the wishes of the 12% Muslims while 85% Hindus fail to bring about a power – structure that would be favourable to them.

The existence of a Muslim vote-bank is thus a recognition of their political strength. Muslims have used their collective voting power to blackmail political parties (including BJP) into submission and forced them to toe pro-Islam lines. Far from being used by parties as the RSS imagines, Muslims have successfully managed to hold political persons and parties to ransom.

Muslims have never allowed a political party to take them for granted. Instead, they have dictated terms to parties and their candidates, dictated national policies and held sway over the course of enactment and operation of laws in India to �carry on the unfinished agenda� laid down by the Quran and the Suanah.  Muslim bargaining with their vote-bank power is simple. Whoever, as a candidate and/or a party, would commit himself to further Islamic interests in the country – keeping Kashmir separated from the rest of India, turning a blind eye to infiltration from Bangladesh, allowing Ulemaic institutions to shelter ISI agents to carry out espionage and subversion, repealing TADA, promoting Islamic theology in the name of minority education, promoting Urdu and suppressing Sanskrit, denouncing the notion of having a uniform civil code in the country, allowing Islam to retain its hold over usurped holy sites of Hindus, spreading tentacles across the country through tabligh and so on – would be assured of bulk Muslim votes and consequent chances of electoral victory.

The RSS and its front organisation BJP have always been at the receiving end of the collective voting scourge of the Muslims. They cannot, therefore, help admitting that Muslim vote-bank functions in India, but ideological confusion makes them get a reverse image of things. They keep fancying that vote-banking is a sign of Muslim weakness, that party interests are served by Muslim vote-banks, and so on.

The acme of Muslim voting power was observed in U.P. in 1993 when they decided that their primary electoral goal was to counteract the nascent Hindu solidarity by defeating BJP in as many constituencies as possible, no matter who the eventual winner was. To achieve this goal, Muslims voted en bloc tactically in favour of the Congress in some constituencies and the Mulayam-Kansi combine is some others, depending on who had a better chance against the BJP.

This tactful exercise of voting prowess led to a stunning outcome suited to Islamic predilections – the BJP with 34% of the polled votes ended up with the same member of seats (176) as the Mulayam-Kansi combine which had got only 28% votes! The ruling power passed into the latter�s rabidly pro-Islamic hands.

Yet in its simple-minded ebullience, the RSS advises Muslims to stop being a vote-bank and offers to �treat them as human beings�. It only provokes derisive Muslim laughter.

Can there be greater self-delusion?  We wonder.
EXCERPT from The concept of Hindu nation

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