While, the BJP has scripted an unbelievable victory in UP & Uttarakhand, where it has won slightly more than 80% of the total seats (a never before feat in the last 4 decades of so in any state in the country), what has caught the eye of a few is its victory in Muslim dominated areas of UP, and specifically in an area called Deoband which houses the famous Dar Uloom Seminary which teaches, espouses and exports a very strict form of Islam only rivaled by the Wahabi form of Islam from Saudi Arabia. In fact the Deobandi and the Wahabi form of Islam have complimented each other since around 60 years, with the exchange of ideas and inter-dependence on each other to fight Soviet and more recently American Imperialism as they now consider. And now the Indian State.
North West UP has got about 11(approximately 14%) of the total 75 districts of UP, which include, Saharanpur (which houses Deoband), Meerut, Shamli (which houses Kairana), Sambhal, Moradabad, Muzzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Bareilly, Rampur, Amroha and Badaun. These 11 districts have got a combined Muslim Population percentage of around 41% as against a combined average of 20% in entire UP which again has a total combined population of approximately 200 Million. These 11 districts house 63 Assembly seats of the total 403 Assembly seats of the entire state, which is roughly around 15% of the total assembly seats. If we roughly translate this into population, the approximate population of these 11 districts is approximately around 35 Million which is still more than almost 20 states of the Indian Union.
In the Assembly elections of 2012, BJP had not won more than 14 seats of the 63 seats from these 11 districts. The total seats won by BJP in the entire state were 47 seats. In fact, it did not win a single seat from the Muzzaffarngar district which has 6 assembly seats, courtesy, the high Muslim percentage in these districts and seats. But, this time This time however, BJP has won 41 of the 58 seats. These include the seat of Deoband from the Saharanpur District and all the 6 assembly seats from Muzzaffarnagar District, in which the BJP failed to win even a single seat last time around. Deoband in particular has a Muslim population percentage of close to 60%. Such is the Political domination of the Muslims in these 11 districts.
So How did BJP make the impossible, possible in the 1st place? Other than the 41% Muslim population, there are a sizeable section of Yadavs and Dalits who form the core vote base of the parties such as SP & the BSP. This is where one arrives at two conclusions:
Firstly and most importantly, Hindus didn’t vote on caste lines this time. There was a heavy Hindu polarization in favor of BJP and all of them voted enmasse for the BJP. And secondly, a sizeable number of Muslims too have voted for the BJP in these 11 districts this time around. A perception which has led party leaders like Mayawati of the BSP and Akhilesh of the SP to propose a comatose theory that, ‘it is simply not possible to win here without Muslim support. Muslims will never vote for the BJP. And since BJP has won without Muslim support, the votes have been manipulated’.
It has been observed in every election, especially since the rise of the BJP, that minorities come out fully to vote against the BJP. These include the women of the Muslim families, guided by their male folks who decide whom to vote for? But, I believe this time around the women of the Muslim families had their own ideas about whom to vote for. From past few months, the BJP has been keeping alive the issue of ‘Triple Talaq’ which is a very emotive issue among Muslim married women who are usually at the receiving end of this religious divorce rule. Almost all Islamic countries have rendered this rule of divorce as invalid. But, secular vote bank politics in India have kept this divorce rule among Muslims alive and kicking.
The BJP has initiated an opinion that, it intends to do away with this divorce rule among Muslims which basically destroys the lives of many innocent married Muslim women. One can safely say that, this dialogue process seems to have tugged at the hearts of the Muslim women.
Another issue which seems to have swayed the Muslim women is the Free LPG cylinders scheme launched on May 1st, 2016 under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ scheme. This benefits mainly poor women and many from poor Muslim families. The scheme aimed at reducing the house work load of almost 5 crore women was initiated starting from UP. Imagine the joy of seeing a free LPG cylinder reach your house, something which you have only dreamed of, your entire life. As we all know PM Modi does not give anything free. Basically these LPG cylinders were taken from those who had voluntarily given up around 1.13 crore such connections on his request nationwide. And now will be purchasing those cylinders at market rate due to their spending capacities.
The 3rd issue which swayed the support in favor of Modi is the Jan Dhan Yojna, for most if not all women in the country. With this scheme, PM Modi encouraged the total empowerment of women who could now be independent of their men in handling their own finances. Around 25 crore accounts (mostly women) were opened across the nation. And many of them were from poor Muslim families. The accounts were basically ‘Zero Balance’, demonetization brought a windfall across all accounts in the country, the PM announced Rs. 10,000 in each ‘zero balance’ accounts of women account holders. This too would have benefitted a lot of Muslim women.
The incentives for women from poor families which automatically benefitted poor Muslim women combined with a few more such women based incentives, which were never before imagined by any previous government would have definitely helped in securing a sound vote base among the rural and lower income group women (Muslims included) for the BJP, which reflects in the surprising numbers notched up in these remarkable elections.
Coming to the issue of Deoband itself. The shockwave of this BJP win in this cradle of Islamic fundamentalism which has spread its roots throughout the world would have been felt throughout the Islamic World slowly and gradually. At any given time there are around 5000 students in the Dar Uloom Seminary undergoing rigorous religious indoctrination. They are later financed and sent to various parts of the world to manage the many mosques built by generous donors who espouse this school of thought.
It is this citadel of Islamic Fundamentalism, which has been breached by a man who sold tea in the stations of Gujarat and who went on the become the one of the most loved Prime Ministers of the country. As per this report the BJP candidate of the Deoband assembly seat defeated his nearest rival by 29400 votes, which by no yardsticks is a small achievement.
This event combined with the complete sweep of these 11 districts with about 41% Muslim population will go a long way in re-shaping and re-moulding a new India.
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