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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 13, March 22, 2014

Varanasi Muslims see Hope in Kejriwal’s Announcement

Sunday 23 March 2014

by Abdul Hayi Ansari

Following the declaration of Modi as the BJP’s candidate [in the Lok Sabha elections] for Varanasi, Kejriwal’s announcement that he may contest against Modi, has given incentive to the local Muslims.

Inquilab’s correspondent contacted some local Muslims on phone who said that the fight between Modi and Kejriwal will be tough and sensible polling by secular voters will create difficulties for the BJP candidate.

It should be remembered that addressing a rally in Bangalore on Sunday (March 16), Kejriwal had conveyed his intention that he might contest against Modi. However, he conditioned his decision with the choice of the Varanasi residents themselves. According to Kejriwal, the final decision will be announced after a rally in Varanasi on March 23 during which he would seek the opinion of the common men. It should be remembered that after this announcement by Kejriwal, the nation’s eyes are glued to Varanasi where there is a possibility that the Samajwadi Party would field Mukhtar Ansari as its candidate.

Talking to Inquilab, Nihal Agha of Chowk, Varanasi opined: ‘This is a sacred place to Hindus and the slogans of “Modi, Modi” are being heard but there are 2.50 lakh Muslim voters here as well, 80 per cent of whom cast their votes.’ Commenting on Kejrwal’s announcement to fight against Modi he said: ‘The AAP is very popular among the youth. If the Congress, SP and BSP do not field their candidates then Modi’s defeat may be certain.’

Member of Teachers Association of Arabic Schools Waheeduddin Khan Saeedi said: ‘This is Kashi and the BJP has already overwhelming support here and it is unlikely that a miracle is going to take place in this Lok Sabha election.’ Waheeduddin Khan Saeedi further said: ‘Apart from the city, there is no Modi wave in the rural areas. If AAP leader Kejriwal stands against Modi, as is being said, then the fight will be tough and a new scenario will emerge. In addition to good and educated voters, the common people, who are tired of high prices and corruption, will also connect with the AAP. And thus sensible polling will increase the difficulties of the BJP candidate.’

One Dalmandi resident, Manzoor Ahmad Khan, said: ‘If Arvind Kejriwal’s party promises to solve the Muslims’ problems, we will definitely try to make Kejriwal successful. The AAP has emerged as an alternative and we should give it a chance.’

Vakeel Ahmed of Benaras said that instead of Modi, Kejriwal has already become a topic of discussion among the youth. According to him, ‘Muslims have a decisive number of votes here. If all of the parties pull up together and forgetting their political and ideological differences decide to defeat Modi and give sup-port to Kejriwal, then something can happen. If Kejriwal stands up and defeats Modi it will not be less than a miracle.’

In the meanwhile, sources of the SP have shown the possibility of putting up Mukhtar Ansari as its candidate for Varanasi.

(Courtesy: Inquilab, Mumbai)