New Delhi, 7 April 2014: The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations, issued a statement about its political agenda and advisory for secular, especially Muslim, voters, at a press conference held at its central office here. The national President Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, Vice President Muhammad Jafar, General Secretary Masoom Moradabadi and Central Committee members Prof. Salim Engineer and Shees Taimi participated in the press conference. Speakers reiterated Mushawarat’s stand that the country is standing today on the cross-roads and has to make a clear choice between fascism and secularism. Mushawarat leaders appealed to the secular voters to frustrate the fascist agenda and help secular forces win the next elections.
Mushawarat asked voters to vote for Aam Aadmi Party and Congress Party on the national level and for Muslim parties where they have established themselves in Kerala, Assam and Hyderabad. On the regional level, Mushawarat supported a number of secular regional options like BSP, Trinamool Congress, JD(U), RJD and CPI so that candidates with secular and clean image win every constituency.
Following is the full text of the statement issued at the press conference:
ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-E MUSHAWARAT
(Umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations)
Political Agenda for Elections 2014
Today there is hectic activity of elections in the country for the formation of the 16th Lok Sabha. The biggest danger during these elections is that fascist and communalist elements may come to power. On the strength of false propaganda, attempt is being made to create an impression that there is a one-person wave in the country. However, the ground reality is that this fake wave is a product of unreliable and irresponsible sections of media and a result of rumours spread by the Sangh Parivar.
The fact is that no single person has the solution for the serious issues and problems India faces today, let alone a person who is accused of responsibility in the murder of innocents during Gujarat 2002 riots and who is considered as the greatest danger the communal harmony and secular-democratic fabric of the nation. Different issues and problems are raising their heads in various states of the country, and it is nothing but fraud to claim that all these issues and problems will be solved if he became PM. The fact is that basic powers in our democratic and federal system rest with the states, and no prime minister can intervene in matters of regional governance. Therefore, it is a fraud to claim that the fate of all citizens of the country will change if a single person became PM.
Communalism and fascism, along with dishonesty and corruption, have irreparably damaged the country. Most political parties and leaders are competing with each other in the field of corruption and no one can claim to be totally clean in this environment.
In this complex situation, the great issue before the Muslims of India is to decide in whose favour they should cast their valuable votes so that a just and transparent government is installed and prejudice, bias and injustice checked.
The parties Muslims supported after Independence exploited them politically. These parties remember Muslims only when there are elections, and they include beautiful slogans in their manifestos for this purpose. As a result, Muslims cast their votes in favour of such parties but get only disappointment in return. We can take the example of the Congress manifesto during the last Lok Sabha elections when it declared that they will provide reservation at 4.5 percent to Muslims on the lines of Kerala and Karnataka in government jobs and educational institutions. But the result of this promise is known to all. The much-hyped Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill was allowed to lapse because of lack of political will. Another “secular” party, SP, had declared in its manifesto during the UP assembly election of 2012 that 9 per cent reservation would be given to Muslims. They had also pledged to release the innocent youth arrested for alleged terrorism, but not a single promise was remembered by the SP after getting the reigns of power. Muzaffarnagar riots and insults to the riot-affected people need no elaboration.
When it comes to Muslims, the attitude and behavior of other secular parties is not too different. Of course, parties like Indian Union Muslim League, Majlis Ittihadul Muslimin and AUDF (Assam) waged successful struggle for political rights and managed to create their identity in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Assam through raising their voice for social justice and fundamental rights.
Today, the most important question is how Muslims should get connected with secular parties in the states where Muslims do not have their own powerful political parties or significant presence. Sagacity requires that fascist elements should be stopped from coming to power by using tactical voting. Wherever, any secular candidate has the capacity to defeat the fascist candidates, we should vote for the secular candidate if he/she has a clean image and his/her behaviour with Muslims and marginalised sections has been just.
On the national level, we have two secular options for Muslim and secular voters: Aam Aadmi Party and Congress Party. Tactical voting should also be used in favour of secular, powerful and clean-image candidates of BSP (U.P.), TMC (West Bengal), RJD and JD(U) (Bihar), Communist Party of India (CPI), and the secular parties of South India. AIMMM supports Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala and AUDF in Assam.
Individually, AIMMM supports its members contesting elections, viz., Salman Khursheed (Farrukhabad), Mohammed Adeeb (Bijnore), Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi (Hyderabad), Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi (Kishanganj) and Sultan Ahmad (Uluberia).
In general, AIMMM advises secular voters, especially Muslims, to vote for secular candidates with cleam image with a view to defeat communalist and fascist forces.
Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan
President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat