comment: Indifference towards Kashmir — Iftikhar Gilani
Daily Times, May 10, 2009
Despite provocations from communal outfits inside and outside the mainstream, including the Hindutva camp, the Indian political system has not been communalised. So much so that the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 did not end in a cataclysm
Varun Gandhi’s recent diatribe against Muslims is quite understandable. His idea of politicking was to polarise Hindu votes, a move necessitated after the delimitation exercise, or re-mapping of his constituency, by the Election Commission. The process has added a few more Muslim blocs to Gandhi’s Pilibhit constituency, making his victory on a BJP ticket somewhat suspect.
After the delimitation, analysts say, the number of constituencies where Muslims constitute 15 percent or more votes, and are thus in a position to influence election results, have increased from 119 to 164. For the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, this is a nightmare. The capital Delhi has now two Muslim seats instead of one.
While Indian Muslims lag in every sphere, they have used their electoral prowess to punish their detractors very effectively. Their sense of revenge is exemplary: they were instrumental in the death of the Congress party in Bihar following the 1989 Bhagalpur communal riots and the emergence of Laloo Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Muslims made the Congress party almost non-existent in Uttar Pradesh for its role in the Babri Mosque demolition.
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