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India rejects but Muslims in Malegaon remain 'bonded' with Congress
Saturday May 17, 2014 10:23 PM, Staff Reporter

Basit Khaleequi, a teacher and former president of Janata Dal (Secular) had said about a month before the polling day that he never voted for the Congress in his life. This time he was in a dilemma as his party had declared support for the Congress. But, in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) he saw an option and said he would vote for the newly established party.

How Malegaon voted
[This is a glimpse of a polling station in Malegaon. Amrish Patel's workers are seen in the picture blocking the entry of AAP candidate Ansari Nihal Ah. ( photo)]

Like him, there were hundreds others in the Malegaon (Centre) assembly constituency who, tired of the Congress policy and backstabbing, pledged not to vote for the grand old party this time.

There were some other factors too going against the Congress party, especially the dissent from within the party as it had declined to field a Muslim and a Maratha candidate from the area – the demand contested this time very strongly.

However, when the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) were unlocked Friday, contrary to what Basit Khaleeui and others had pledged, and in total contrast to the other five assembly segments in the Dhule-Malegaon parliamentary constituency, about 01,35,000 votes, which is more than 90% of the total polled vote, went to the Congress.

Political analysts said the reason for this turnaround was highly polarised election campaign that local leaders, especially the Muslim leaders including local MLA Mufti Ismael, ran for the Congress candidate, Amrish Patel.

"Like other parts of the country, they too asked people to vote for Amrish Patel to defeat Narendra Modi. But, they were so vigorous in their appeal, and their tone was such that there was, as if, going to be a war between Kufr and Islam", Haleem Siddiqui, author and a local journalist said while talking to

He said the strategy, though worked for the Congress in the Malegaon (Centre) assembly segment, which has a total of 2,35,000 voters with about 95% of them being Muslims, went against it in other five assembly seats.

"In fact, local MLA Mufti Ismael's speeches were circulated on social networking sites by Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) activists. They were spread like wildfire and had a counter effect in other five assembly segments where voters polarised in favour of Dr Subhash Bhamre", he added.

Aleem Faizee, a political observer and analyst, questioned the strategy adopted by the Muslim community and political leadership which was bitterly anti-Modi and 'too heavily' pro-Congress.

"The strategy used in Malegaon is witnessed almost at all places where Muslims are in some sizeable number. The results show it was a totally wrong plan as in response to anti-Modi call given by the Muslims, Hindu votes polarised heavily in favour of Modi and BJP candidates", he said.

He also questioned the frequent appeals issued to Muslims by Congress leaders and those from other political parties to vote in order to defeat Narendra Modi.

"The fight against the communal forces should have started from Hindus who are in a majority and Muslims would have supported this fight. Muslims alone did not have numbers and capacity to take this fight forward. The election results too prove this point", he said.

He said Muslims will always be remembered in history as the community which supported the Congress when everyone refused because of its misdeeds.

"Muslims behaved like slaves, political slaves", he said.

The scene in Malegaon (Centre) on the polling day was not different than what was witnessed during the campaigning. Workers led by the leaders of all political parties including the Janata Dal (S) of veteran socialist leader Nihal Ahmed, who never sided with the Congress, were ferrying voters to the polling booths as if they were in a race with each other.

"What we saw on the polling day in this election can only be compared with a ward election", Aleem Faizee said.

Interestingly, unlike Malegaon (Centre) where Muslims voted in a record number for the Congress, their community brethrens in other assembly segments voted enthusiastically for BJP's Dr Subhash Bhamre.

"We are not impressed by any Modi wave. Our vote and support is for Dr Subhash Bhamre. We know him since decades, and he is a good person and deserves to be our representative in the parliament", Abdul Ahad, a local community leader said.

The biggest loser in this tug-of-war between communal forces and secular parties is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Ansari Nihal Ahmed. The party had fielded a Muslim candidate hoping that he will get the community's support. But, he could neither get votes of Muslims nor Hindus, and could poll a meagre 09,287 votes.

Results at a glance:
Total Votes polled: 09,79,230

Party-wise position

Dr Subhash Bhamr of BJP 05,26,821
Amrish Patel of Congress 03,97,578
Ansari Nihal Ah of AAP 09,287

Footnote: Anjali Damania, AAP top leader in Maharashtra, a day before the polling, had asked people of Malegaon to vote for her party's candidate. In return, she had said, the AAP will field a Muslim from a Hindu dominated area, and will make sure he/she wins.

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