NEW DELHI: The victory of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates in five Muslim populated constituencies established the fact that the community voted en masse for the ruling party.
The resentment of Muslims against the narrative of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which weaved around ‘nationalism’ and ‘Hindutva’ and subsequent provocative statement by its leaders was palpable as the citizenry had come out to vote on Saturday.
All five Muslim candidates fielded by AAP registered victory with handsome margins on Tuesday. Amanatullah Khan of AAP retained Okhla seat where Congress candidate Parvez Hashmi even failed to save his security deposit. His victory margin was 71,827.
Shoaib Iqbal, who had joined AAP just before the elections, emerged victorious from Matia Mahal seat, which he had lost to AAP in 2015 on Congress seat. Iqbal won convincingly against Ravinder Gupta of the BJP and Mirza Javed Ali of the Congress.
He previously contested on Congress ticket. Similarly, Delhi minister Imran Hussain and Abdul Rehman succeeded in Ballimaran and Seelampur seats respectively.
Hussain defeated his nearest rival Lata Sodi of BJP with 36, 172 votes. Haji Yunus defeated sitting MLA Jagdish Pradhan of BJP with over 20, 000 ballots.
Conventionally, the community in the national capital has always voted for the Congress. In 2013, major chunk of Muslim voters changed loyalty to AAP, then a political greenhorn.
However, in 2015 they shifted to AAP in entirety.
Congress leaders said that after BJP tweaked its campaign and CAA took center stage, the Muslim voters swayed towards the AAP even though the grand old party was also opposing the new legislation.
“They united against the politics of hate. They had realised that Congress was not capable of defeating BJP hence they supported AAP,” said a Delhi Congress leader.
“AAP emerged their (Muslims) first choice as Congress was weak. Muslims voted en bloc for AAP. This has been our concern since the beginning,” said the BJP leader.
BJP’s worst fear
Senior Delhi BJP functionary also admitted that excessive use of Hindutva and attack on anti-CCA protest, including the one at Shaheen Bagh, had resulted into reverse polarization.