Muslims who form around 13.4 per cent of the population of India, have always been important in terms of serving as a vote bank for different political parties, more so in the election season. As per the most of the pre-poll opinion polls, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is far ahead of Indian National Congress (INC) in all over the country. While Muslims have considered as part of Congress’ vote bank, what is the most interesting this election is the changing nature of India’s biggest religious minorities.
As Sanjay Kumar in his article in Mint newspaper writes, that from the last few elections, the voter base has already got divided with the strong emergence of regional parties who wooed the Muslim voters as well. But with the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), there is a division of the Muslim voters again. For Congress, it has become very crucial to mobilise the Muslims and get their support, otherwise BJP would take away the benefit of a division of the the Muslim votes.
Adding to the miseries of Congress, the writer says that besides the general public mood against the ruling government, this time the Muslim votes will get divided between Congress and the newly formed AAP. This will happen more in the places where Congress is in a direct fight with the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party has made its presence felt as an alternative to the Muslims. AAP has not remained confined to Delhi and Haryana.
It has spread to other important states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Chattisgarh. The Muslims in these states might prefer AAP over their traditional choice of Congress in this Lok Sabha elections. The way AAP is wooing Muslims, it definitely will have an impact on the minds of the Muslim voters who now have a viable choice apart from the Congress. With both the Congress and AAP are trying to get maximum out of the Muslim electorates, it will ultimately result in the division the Muslim votes bank, damaging the prospects of the Congress.
In states where this is a sizable proportion of Muslims and has a strong presence of regional parties, it would be all the more difficult for Congress. With strong regional parties wooing the Muslims in different states, Congress’s share has already depleted over the years. Like in West Bengal, a large share of Muslim votes went to TMC, in UP to SP and BSP, and like wise in Bihar to RJD, JD(U), PDP and NC in J&K.
As per the survey conducted by Centre for Study of Developing Societies, the support base of Congress even in states like Delhi seems to be in threat because of the inclination of Muslims towards AAP this time as already seen in Delhi Assembly elections which saw a major divide in votes between Congress and AAP. Uttar Pradesh, which has the largest number of seats is going to do the major damage to Congress where Congress had last time won seven seats, out of which more than 25 percent were the Muslim voters. And all this split between the regional parties and the major national political parties will ultimately cut the votes of Congress and give BJP the wanted advantage.