Bihar Muslims accuse Nitish Kumar of doublespeak

Patna, April 18 (IANS) Many Muslims in Bihar are not impressed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s latest move to target Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his allegedly communal politics. It is mere “doublespeak”, they say, and has little to do with secularism.

“After all, Nitish Kumar has been with the BJP for 17 long years. What happened to Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 is well documented, but all this while Nitish Kumar failed to criticise Modi and never demanded his sacking as chief minister. Suddenly, now, he questions Modi’s secular credentials,” says Irshadul Haque, a Dalit Muslim activist.

“If Modi is communal, how could Nitish Kumar treat senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, the man behind the demolition of the Babri mosque, as secular? For Muslims, Advani and Modi are two sides of the same coin,” social activist Naiyer Fatmi told IANS

Mohammad Abid, a small-time contractor, said that Nitish Kumar had been trying to paint the BJP in white and Modi in black.

“If Nitish Kumar is so serious about the secular principle, he should first part ways with the BJP. Attacking Modi means nothing, as he was with Modi after the Gujarat riots of 2002,” Abid said.

Sorror Ahmad, a community activist and mediaperson, said Muslims understand that they have nothing to do with Nitish Kumar’s statement on ‘topis’ (skull caps).

Nitish Kumar had said that leaders should adopt the style of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was able to take everyone along. He had said that leaders should sometimes wear a topi, sometimes a tilak – a reference to the skull-cap and marks on the forehead that offer visible evidence of belonging to the Muslim or Hindu communities.

“One should know that ‘topi’ is part of culture, not religion. Nitish Kumar is using catchwords to send a political message to Muslims, but he has failed. He is widely seen as a close partner of BJP’s Advani and Modi. Nitish Kumar was railway minister under Vajpayee, and when he raised the raj-dharam (duty of office) question for Modi after the Gujarat riots, Nitish Kumar deliberately maintained silence,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad added that Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United was the first secular political party in the country to offer legitimacy to the BJP in 1996. “The JD-U was the first secular party to join the BJP; its earlier allies, Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, were religion-based parties,” he said.

Muslims make up around 16 percent of the 105 million population of Bihar.

They determine the poll outcome in 60 of 243 assembly constituencies, mainly in the bordering districts of Kishanganj, Araria and Bhagalpur, north Bihar districts of Supoul, Madhepura, Saharsa and Darbangha, and central Bihar districts of Gopalganj, Siwan, Biharsharif, Gaya and Nalanda, where they have a presence of anything between 18 and 70 percent.

In about 50 other seats, Muslim voters make up 10-17 percent of the electorate, enough to substantially influence poll outcomes.

Ahmad said that Muslim votes were divided among four main political parties – JD-U, RJD, LJP and Congress. In some constituencies, Muslims also voted for the Left parties.

Haque too questioned Nitish Kumar’s respect for Advani: Only this month, Advani claimed that BJP workers and leaders should not be apologetic for the Babri mosque demolition. Advani had strongly backed Modi after the 2002 riots in Gujarat, he said.

“Over 10 years after the Gujarat riots, and more than 20 years after the Babri mosque demolition, Muslims have learnt hard lessons to decide the fate of this country,” Haque told IANS.

Saba Ansari, a 19-year-old college student, however, was more positively inclined to the chief minister: “He has, at long last, realised his mistake and is now open to taking on Modi,” she said.

Nujhat Jahan, a 20-year-old student, said: “For me, Nitish Kumar is doing a repeat of (former chief minister) Lalu Prasad, who dared to stop Advani’s Rath Yatra from entering the state, becoming a champion of secular politics,” she said.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at [email protected])

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2 Comments

  1. says: sundararaman

    THE ACTIVISTS AND OTHERS FOLLOWED BY STUDENTS IS HIGHLY
    WELCOMED.NO BODY CAN BE CHALLENGED AS POLITICAL GENIUSIN POLITICS THEY PLAY MANY GAMES THAT SUIT THE TIME AND AIM AT SUCCESS IN ANTICIPATION . ONE THING PEOPLE. E SHOULD FOLLOW THAT IS POLITICAL STRATEGY TO COVER THE MINDS OF THE OF THE PEOPLE LIVING IN EVERY CONSTITUENCY TO REACH THE VICTORY OF VOTE BANK POLITICS TO CAPTURE POWER.THIS IS MAIN TARGET OF EACH POLITICAL PARTY AND THE FOLLOWED POLITICIAN NOTHING ELSE. ALL POLITICAL GAMES PLAYED BY THE POLITICAL PARTIES TO’BRAIN WASH THE PEOPLE’S MIND WITH ATTRACTING POLICIES HIGH IN THEIR STATE OR CONSTITUENCY.THE POLITICIAN AND THE POLITICAL PARTIES SAY MANY THINGS TO ATTRACT THE PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE THEIR HOPE IN GETTING VOTE BANKS MAXIMUM TO REACH THE VICTORY AND NOBODY IS SECULAR AND NONE IS NON SECULAR IT IS ONLY IN SPEECH. THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA IS FOLLOWED BY MANY LANGUAGES AND MANY RELIGIONS AND COMMUNITIES CANNOT BE DENIED AND EACH ONE WANTED TO REACH THEIR MIND FOLLOWING . INDIA IS RULED BY HINDU KINGS, MUSLIM KINGS AND EUROPEAN GOVERNMENT WHICH IS PROMOTED WITH HINDU MAJORITY, THEN MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS . THE POLITICIANS PLAY THEIR GAMES TO REACH THEIR POLITICAL AMBITION TO CAPTURE POWER . THAT IS THE END OF VICTORY IN CAPTURING POWER THROUGH VOTE BANK POLITICS. IMAGINE SECULAR IS FOLLOWED IN CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLE NOT IN REALITY MY OPINION. ALL SHOULD BE FOLLOWED AS RELATION AND FRIENS. ALL GODS ARE EQUAL AND ALL PRAYERS FOLLOW THE SAME PRINCIPLE MAKE US TO LIVE HAPPILY WITH PROSPEROUS AND HEALTHY . AVOID SPECKING RELIGION AND COMMUNITY TALKS AND FOLLOW THE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDIAN NATION BEFORE THE EYES OF THE GLOB. INDIA HAS MANY NATURAL GIFTS AND MAN POWER SHOULD PROMOTE THE MIND USING IT AND LIVE HAPPILY SHOULD BE PHENOMENA OF EACH CITIZEN. THE POOR SHOULD GET TWO TIMES MEALS , FREE EDUCATION TO THEIR CHILDREN, A REGULAR FOR THE LIVELYHOOD THAT IS DEMOCRACY.

  2. Nafat Nitish have no standing even in Bihar or the love and affection of Muslims because of hypocratic nature of arrogant Nitish. The people of Bihar consider him as a sheep while comparing him with Laluji who is the Lion of Bihar. Nafat Nitish is non transparent and coward type of leader compared to Laluji who is bold and out spoken and speaks from his heart. He is at all time going to remain a dependable ally of Congress and Nafat Nitish have no place anymore with any party. The dooms day for Nafat Nitish will be enacted by the great Laluji and BJP have to do nothing for the betrayal just remain calmposed and that is the way to win NAFAT PEOPLE. sO DO NOT GO DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF nAFTAI IS MY SUGGESTION TO bjp

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