[Maharashtra BJP Minority Cell Chief Jamal Siddiqui (right) extensively campaigned for the party during 2017 Malegaon Municipal Corporation elections. (ummid.com photo)]
Mumbai: People are wondering why Malegaon and Bhiwandi voted against the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) at a time when the "entire country" in "one voice" is backing the saffron party. Sadly, instead of finding the actual reason, so as to help the BJP to introspect, a section in the media is trying to give a communal color to the civic poll results.
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was hopeful that like in other parts of the country the party will get support from Malegaon and Bhiwandi too. It is hence the party has given tickets to quite a few Muslims and also promised to have a Muslim of the party as Mayor in both the cities.
Malegaon and Bhiwandi are the two major textile clusters of the cuntry. In fact, more that 50% of India's total 2.5 million powerlooms are running in the two cities. Talking to the locals after the poll results it was found that they voted against the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest against the BJP government's anti-weaver textile policy.
"The textile industry is in trouble ever since the BJP government came to power in New Delhi in 2014. But, instead of addressing the issues the government is taking decisions that are clearly pro-corporate and against weavers. The result is that most of the weavers today are on the verge of bankruptcy", Altaf Ansari of SN Fabrics said.
"How can we vote for sucha a party which is proving to be enemy of our livelihood?" he asked.
According to Rasheed Tahir Momin of Bhiwandi Powerloom Federation things in the two cities are worst than what people see from outside.
"Last three years' of recession has pushed the textile industry to a dead end. After meeting with Textile Minister Smriti Irani we were optimistic that the government will do some thing to control the situation. But, the government's "Textile Policy" which Irani chose to launch from the city is no more than a cruel joke for the weavers", he said.
"On one hand the government extends sops to its corporate friends and on the other takes decisions which leave the weavers without whatever little they currently have", he said.
"How can it expect our votes when such is its attitude towards the industry?" Dilshad Ahmed, a weaver, asked. "The BJP should realise this fact that the poll results are a vote against the government's anti-weaver textile policy."
The political analysts are also of the opinion that there was a strong undercurrent against the ruling party during the elections and the reason was certainly not communal.
"After years of sufferings people here now don't find much difference between Congress, BJP or NCP. For them all political parties are more or less same. Under such a situation, the BJP's development plank could have been helped the party to garner votes in Malegaon and Bhiwandi.
"But, the party's development agenda could not do the same wonder in the two cities as it did in other parts of the country because the government did not pay heed to the concerns of the weavers and hence they were upset", Dr Yusuf Ansari, author and retired professor, told ummid.com.
"Textiles is not only the livelihood of the weavers but their emotions are also attached with the industry, which has survived the British colonial excesses. A party cannot win over the people who feel that there are attempts by its government to finish them off", he added.