Owaisi’s Bihar challenge: Do ‘secular’ parties have a god-given right to a Muslim vote?

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Asaduddin Owaisi, a agitator trainer of a All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), has set a cat among a pigeons by determining to competition 24 seats in a Muslim-dominated constituencies of Bihar in a stirring public elections. His entrance has drawn pale protests from artificial secularists — both in a domestic locus and in a media — for allegedly weakening a quarrel opposite a “communal” BJP.

The categorical arguments used to criticize Owaisi’s incursion are these: that he will be “dividing” Muslim votes and hence play spoiler for a “secularists” in these elections; moreover, he might even be a BJP agent. Since a BJP is not complaining, a “secular” gang feels a assign opposite Owaisi will be believable.

Asaduddin Owaisi. PTIAsaduddin Owaisi. PTI

Asaduddin Owaisi. PTI

Another, though different, line of evidence is that given Bihar underneath Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar has seen no vital community demonstration after Bhagalpur in a late 1980s, Muslims will not be captivated to Owaisi’s code of politics.

All these arguments are flawed.

While a JD(U)-RJD-Congress fondness will be strike tough if Owaisi indeed manages to wean divided some Muslim votes in Bihar, a doubt that begs seeking is this: if a “secular” parties have been such a bonus to marginalised Muslim communities in India, since are they so frightened of Owaisi? Why would Muslims opinion for Owaisi if they had gotten a improved understanding from a “secular” parties? As Owaisi himself put it colourfully in a new TV interview: “Humko dekhkar unhe pet me dard kyon hota hai? Apni kamjori ko hamaare ghar ke saamne rakhe to sound kya kare.”

The fear of Owaisi, who is indeed attempting zero some-more – and zero reduction – than what each other informal celebration has attempted some-more or reduction successfully, exposes a artificial inlet of mainstream Indian “secularism” as never before. For several reasons.

First, a unequivocally thought that Muslim votes should not be “divided” is communal. Nobody stops to consider what this implies. It means Muslims contingency opinion as a block, and not according to where they consider their interests lie. Now if voting as a retard is all right for Muslims, since not for Hindus or other communities? Why censure a BJP for seeking a Hindu converging when “secular” parties wish a Muslim consolidation? So, to disagree that Owaisi contingency not order Muslim votes is plainly wrong.

Second, arguing that Muslims have no need for Owaisi given there were no community riots in some states is worse. As Owaisi himself celebrated in a TV uncover recently, is a insurance of life and prong some kind of foster shown by “secularists” to Muslims? Isn’t that a avocation of a state, and all inaugurated governments? Or were “secular” parties merely regulating insurance rackets for a minorities, regulating a BJP and a RSS to shock Muslims into voting for them?

Third, how is it satisfactory to disagree that a Bahujan Samaj Party is “progressive” since it organises Dalits into a voting bloc, though it is somehow wrong for Owaisi to do a same with Muslims? Is it all right for Mulayam Singh and Lalu Yadav to shamelessly hoard Yadav votes though wrong of Owaisi to try to emanate a Muslim opinion by appealing to their clarity of protest and/or community instincts? Is caste-based communalism positively excellent though not religion-based communalism?

Fourth, a plea before all parties – from BJP to a Congress to all informal parties – is to concentration on Muslim mercantile damage and not only be happy with providing them security. If there is a Muslim celebration fighting not only for a community’s security, though for their mercantile interests too, how many some-more mistreat can it do than a mistreat a secularists have already finished to emanate distrust between Hindus and Muslims?

Fifth, while a initial impact of Owaisi’s politics might indirectly advantage a BJP, in a prolonged run, he will finish adult forcing “secularists” to confront a truth. If he succeeds, he could connect Muslim votes underneath a celebration (or organisation of parties) built on a Muslim identity. This is no opposite from what is a box already in Kerala, where a Indian Union Muslim League claims to paint Muslims and is a many absolute domestic force after a Congress and CPM. Two, even if he does not succeed, Owaisi’s incursion in Bihar (and elsewhere) will force other physical parties to unequivocally start doing something for Muslims over sanctimonious to strengthen life and limb.

One might not adore Owaisi’s code of politics, though it is a damn steer some-more honest than a artificial secularism used by a mainstream parties where Muslims are cheated economically in a name of safeguarding them from “communalism”.

We can’t contend that approach Muslim politics will be headed if Owaisi succeeds (or fails), though during a unequivocally slightest he will have forced a rethink on secularism that is some-more about ghettoising Muslims than mainstreaming them.

He could good be a force for some good.