In PM's constituency, Muslim weavers hope for progress

Muslims, who comprise 20 per cent of the population in Modi's constituency, appear to be solidly behind the SP-Congress alliance, virtually ruling out any serious split in their ranks on March 8.

Published: 05th March 2017 02:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th March 2017 05:28 PM   |  A+A-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo | PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File | PTI)

By PTI

VARANASI: Muslims turned out in large numbers as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's roadshow passed through their localities here but the goodwill gesture may not translate into votes for BJP candidates in his parliamentary seat.

"Hamare Prime Minister hain. Banaras taraqqi karega to hum bhi karengein. Lekin BJP wale humein pasand nahi karte. (He is our prime minister. If Vanarasi progresses, so will we; but the BJP does not like us), says Rafiq Ahmed, a septuagenarian trader in Madanpura.

Muslims, comprising 20 per cent of total voters, appear to be solidly behind the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance here, virtually ruling out any serious split in their ranks on March 8, when the city goes to the polls.

A division in Muslims votes in 2012 played a role in the BJP's win in all three Assembly seats falling in the city. Asked if they would vote for Modi, some youths shot back, "How many Muslims have been fielded by the BJP in UP? Zero! We are 20 per cent in the state but not seen good enough even for one of the 403 seats. Why should we vote for him?"

If some Muslims give credit to the Prime Minister for launching developmental schemes aimed at Varanasi and increased cleanliness, there is also lot of resentment in the community over demonetisation, which has especially hit hard the weaving community, comprising mostly Muslims.

Abdul Rauf, a noted handloom dealer, is disappointed over Modi's handling of weavers' concerns but says he continues to have hope in him.

With their Banarasi sarees having lost sheen post note ban, many weavers express their unhappiness with the BJP's policies. Besides, there are old fault lines, including the party's Hindutva pitch, that deeply divide the community and the saffron outfit.

Zubair Ahmed (26) says in a lighter vein that even if some of them vote for the party, nobody will believe them.

He says he knew friends who had voted for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when Modi contested from here. "Our non-Muslim friends laughed when we told them."

Rafiq Ahmed says it is after a long time that Muslims are united in supporting one candidate (SP-Congress nominees) in Varanasi as they used to be divided between these two parties, who always contested separately.

The combined votes of the SP and the Congress were more than the winning BJP candidates' in two of the three seats and it could be a reason that the saffron party deployed its top leaders, including several Union ministers, in holding small and big public events targeting different sections of people.

(With PTI inputs)

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL2018