Muslims of Varanasi are going to engage in tactical voting to defeat Modi, recently they listened attentively as AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal addressed a rally in Varanasi. What I noticed in Varanasi Muslims is, they have good impression of Kejriwal.
A trader in bylane of Muslim dominated grey market Dalmandi says, “We respect Arvind Kejriwal as he is honestly a dedicated person, but we don’t see a leader in him.” He supports AAP but Voting to them is something he was unsure with, as he believes that Kejriwal has somehow lost his charm and he feared that the leader might not be able to attract mass support to defeat BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
The extract is that the muslims, no longer seem to be depend on Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. They have better options this time, and they want to use this opportunity to make their lives better.
Varanasi has more than 300 thousand of Muslim votes and their support will be decisive and crucial. These voters are eagerly awaiting the Congress naming its candidate. Ajay Rai, the Pindra MLA and former BJP man, is considered the frontrunner for the Congress ticket as he commands a good sway among the minority as well as the Brahmins, the two largest communities in the constituency.
The blank space, mulayam created in Muslims’ mind is expected to fill by Quami Ekta Dal leader Mukhtar Ansari, who decided to contest from the seat, Mukhtar Ansari, a megalomaniac in 2009 had almost beaten the BJP’s giant figure Murli Manohar Joshi. But, the old rivalary between Rai and Ansari would be a factor to be considered.
Interestingly, like Americans, Varanasi muslims want Arvind Kejriwal to explain his blueprint that how would he transform the Varanasi into Surat in terms of giving extra ordinary benefits to weavers’ community. Needless to mention Varanasi is a major producer of Silk fabrics, but the situation of Varanasi weavers is worst as middlemen or gaddidars are those who take much chunk of profits, leaving the Weavers in huge debts.
They want open debate between Modi and Kejriwal in terms of making the weaver’s life better. In his recent rally Modi has shown his concern for Muslim weaver community, he has promised that on victory he will transform the Varanasi into Surat which is a biggest hub of what handloom and powerloom produce, the fabrics.
The blueprint Modi laid before Weavers was not only attractive and alluring but it was just too good to be true.
Banarasi Sari is a signature product of ancient Varanasi, these Saris are woven only by Muslim Weavers, then the Saris are handed over to Gaddidars dominated by Hindu orthodox community who take most of the profit and give weavers only a bit of what they actually deserve of. The question is that, can Modi eliminate this middlemen community to give the weavers their full share? The answer is a Big No as gaddidars dominance in Varanasi Silk business is too deep, and Modi is not going to make them angry as here comes the question of Hindutva, that is what he is in Varanasi for.
On the other side, Mukhtar Ansari is a muscle man, a notorious mafia… who offers no fortune to muslims, but he is being seen as a strong man who could fight against communal forces, whether he is capable of doing this or not, he has sympathy of muslim voters, and is going to become a big threat to Modi’s dreams.
Muslims have two reasons to vote Ansari, first they see Modi as a killer of Muslims, and secondly Ajay Rai is against Ansari, and voters do not to see Ajay Rai over Mukhtar Ansari. QED is led by Ansari brother Afzal, and is going to give nightmares to Narendra Modi, Ajay Rai, and SP, BSP candidates. While Arvind Kejriwal is not being even considered as a candidate in Varanasi Muslims.
Modi is on three edged sword, and it would be interesting to see what next offer and promise Modi would come up with, to win the broken hearts of Varanasi Muslims.