Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mulla Mulayam's vote bank politics comes to SIMI's rescue

Within two days of the Mumbai bomb blasts that killed more than 200 innocent Indians and severely injured more than 700 more (according to official Government figures; we all know they under-report casualties), Uttar Pradesh Chiel Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav (also known as "Mulla Mulayam" for his Muslim vote-banking politics) has come out in open support of the banned Islamic extremist outfit SIMI which has been involved in previous terror attacks, and is strongly implicated in this one too.

Times of India reports:
Votebank politics come to SIMI’s rescue

Subodh Ghildiyal

NEW DELHI: The banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has emerged a great unifier for two political rivals -UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and state Congress chief Salman Khursheed. And, the fight is turning out to be a reflection on the outfit’s potential to influence poll equations in the state, which is awaiting elections early next year.

Even as the controversy over SP chief’s "clean chit" to SIMI rages on, Mulayam may be deriving satisfaction from the fact that Congress will be forced to pull its punches because it was none other than Khursheed who had argued for SIMI in its appeal against the Central ban in the Supreme Court. The UPCC chief defended his action, saying it has nothing to do with politics.

"It was on a constitutional point that ban under Unlawful Activities Act can be imposed only after the decision of a tribunal and, as a lawyer, I have a right to hold brief on a constitutional point."

But political circles have not failed to notice that Khursheed, trigger happy when it comes to attacking Mulayam, has refrained from taking issue with the chief minister even when governor T V Rajeswar sent a stern message to the Uttar Pradesh government for its leniency toward the hardline organisation.

Asked to comment, he said Mulayam should not have made public pronouncements when the matter is before the tribunal.

Even Union minister of state for home, S P Jaiswal, who is from Uttar Pradesh and rarely skips an opportunity to trade barbs with Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been conspicuous in his silence on state government’s soft stance towards SIMI. The banned outfit,incidentally, is quite active in Jaiswal’s home city of Kanpur. While SP is angling for political dividends to accrue from favouring SIMI, Congress, another aspirant for minority votes in the secular stable, has decided to exercise caution.

Analysts attribute Congress’ reluctance to go after the UP CM to the calculation that attacking the SP on the issue may only help it win over the hardline elements in the minority community - especially when it is faced with fear of fragmentation of its minority votebase in the wake of formation of anti-SP Muslim fronts under two famous clerics.

The same calculation explains why SP has let go of an opportunity to attack Khursheed, usually their favourite target.

The race for votes has brought about a rare restraint on the part of two of the parties which make up the bitterly fractious political spectrum of UP. Both are driven by the estimate that a tough stand on SIMI may not go down well with the members of the minority community.

That is what pushed Yadav to seek withdrawal of criminal cases against SIMI national president Shahid Badr Falahi and cases of rioting against SIMI state chief Mohammed Amir, and to play down its involvement in the terror attack on Mumbai on Tuesday.

Anyone think Mulla Mulayam will pay for this unprincipled politics ?

He won't. He and his Samajwadi Party will reap the benefit of getting the votes of uneducated Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.

Educated Muslims are a negligible minority that does not matter in elections, just like educated Hindus are a marginalized section with no electoral impact either. Educated and non-fundamentalist Muslims will not support Mulla Mulayam's vote-banking politics, but their votes don't matter.

You can see how Salman Khursheed of Congress is trying to get some of those uneducated Muslim votes by coming out in support of SIMI himself too.

As long as uneducated Hindus allow themselves to be splintered into caste-based sections by people like Arjun Singh and V P Singh before him, the Hindu votes will cancel each other out, and Muslim vote-banks will remain the most important.

And terror attacks will continue, and no Party will effectively wipe out the extremist Muslim organizations (like SIMI) in order to prevent getting outmaneuvred by people like Mulla Mulayam who claim to "protect Muslim Minority interests" but in effect protect terrorists from government action.

These are the same people who were against TADA and POTA. Laws like TADA and POTA are essential for wiping out Islamic terrorism in India.

What can you do ?

Be aware of what is happening. Work against Casteism. Promote Hindu unity and unity between Hinduism and moderate/secular Mulims and Christians, because Hinduism is the only guarantee of secularism in India, and Muslim vote-banking politics will lead to creation of more Pakistans and Bangladesh's out of India in the coming centuries.

Talk to your friends. Join the discussion on this blog. Tell me what you think.

There is still time. Let us all join hands today for a better future for our children.


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