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Muslim community not yet convinced about AAP

Afsar Ahmad

Updated: January 14, 2014, 2:24 PM IST
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The popularity of the Aam Aadmi Party has skyrocketed after the party's stunning debut in Delhi assembly elections in December 2013. National parties like BJP and Congress are now concerned about AAP's rising popularity while regional parties look clueless in the face of the new political development.

The aura around Narendra Modi has diminished a bit after AAP came to power in Delhi. Now all the parties have to factor in the AAP effect in their electoral strategy.

Till now every thing has gone in favour of AAP. But the only concern for the party could be the Muslim factor. The Muslim leaders as well as the voters have demanded party's clarification on the issues related to the community before extending their support. There seems to be not much support for AAP among the Muslims.

The views among the Muslim community are varied. Sunni spiritual leader Firangi Mahli does not look enthusiastic about AAP and has adopted the 'wait and watch' policy. Veteran Islamic historian Zaffri has asked the community not to extend its support to AAP in haste and had demanded clarification from the party on several issues.

He further added that the community would like to know about AAP's stand on issues like economic conditions of Muslims, the Gujarat riots, arrest of Muslims in the name of anti-terror measures and reservation for the community. He further added that if these issues are well answered, then Muslims can finalise their stand on AAP.

As the general elections are due in mid-2014, both Shia and Sunni leaders have confirmed being contacted by different political parties.

In Delhi despite the rout Congress managed to get a lot of Muslim support. While four out of eight Congress MLAs are Muslims, none of the AAP candidate from the community could win. While Muslims are looking towards AAP but they are still voting for parties whom they have traditionally supported.

Md Sallauddin, a social worker from Bihar, says that it won't be a cake walk for AAP in the state. He added that although Muslims are curious about the new party and its ideology, yet the support would depend on the choice of candidates in Muslim dominated areas as well as the proportion of Muslim representation.

Speaking further he said the new announcements from the JDU government for minorities and its stand toward BJP may hinder AAP's success in state.

Even the AAP is conscious of the dilemma among Muslims as there were rumours that Anna Hazare's agitation was supported by the Sangh pariwar. Now AAP leaders are trying hard to ensure that all communities support them.

The party is well aware of the challenges they may face in the election and has been trying to involve Muslim leaders. AAP National Convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had met controversial Muslim leader Taukir Razza and more AAP leaders are expected to meet Muslim leaders.

There are instances where Muslim community has showed interest in AAP. As Kejriwal formed government in Delhi, Jataak Foundation chief Syed Zafar Mahmood sent him a 20-point-agenda. The response from AAP is still awaited. It would be interesting to see if AAP can convince Muslim community before the forthcoming elections.
First Published: January 14, 2014, 2:24 PM IST

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