Narendra Modi’s speech at Sawai Madhopur, local Muslims react

By Mohd. Ismail Khan,,

Sawai Madhopur: BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed five consecutive rallies at Alwar, Deeg Kuhmer, Bandikui, Sawai Madhopur and Dudu constituencies in poll bound Rajasthan. Out of those five Sawai Madhopur attracts considerable attention due to its religion and caste factors, above all its high profile candidates.

Narendra Modi campaigned at Sawai Madhopur for his party candidate 41 year old Rajmata of Jaipur Diya Kumari who also happens to be the great granddaughter of the erstwhile Maharaja of Sawai Madhopur. She is contesting against Congress party candidate 29 year old Danish Abrar who is the son of late union state finance minister Abrar Ahmed. In the fray is also the heavy weight politician of Rajasthan and demi caste god Dr. Kirodi Lal Meena, a BJP rebel who is now heading National Peoples Party Rajasthan unit.

Sawai Madhopur is an electorally complicated constituency, with 25% Muslim, 27% Meena, 14% Gujjar, and 16% SC votes. With considerable Muslim population and a Congress Muslim candidate in fray, Narendra Modi didn’t miss chance to kill two birds with one arrow. He attacked Congress on vote bank politics and in the same breath tried to reach out to the Muslims in his 25 minutes speech.

In his speech began at 3: p.m. at a jam pack crowd at Dussera stadium,
Narendra Modi alleged that Congress is playing the divide and rule game. He told the charged crowd that Congress party doesn’t care about the development and instead focus on caste and religious calculation to divide votes in their favour.

Criticizing the earlier explained divide and rule politics, Narendra Modi said it is worst kind of vote bank politics. Then he went on to clarify that people misunderstand him when he speaks of vote bank politics and relate it to Muslim community, he said it is not true nor was his intentions.

Meanwhile a buzz Sawai Madhopur which is considered locally as ‘large village’ got interesting reactions from Muslim community on Modi’s campaign. Abdul Salam who owns a shoes shop at Jama masjid lane just 1 km away from the venue said Modi’s rally campaign will certainly have effect at Sawai Madhopur.

“Muslims will get more polarized and rally behind his (Modi’s) opposition,” he suggests. Although he and some other Muslims felt that Modi will again utter some ‘Bakwas’ against Muslim community, but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday at all to everyone’s wonder.

In contrast to general perception, it was Modi reaching out to community. Nafees Ali, a water pipeline contractor at Ranthambhore road, said he doesn’t give a damn about Modi’s message to Muslims. “I hate him,” was his instant reply, “princess (referring to the BJP candidate) might have charged her campaign up for few days by getting in Modi, but she now has lost not only Muslim votes but even their trust.”

At the rally venue there was presence of Muslims mostly came from neighbouring villages. Mohammed Ishaq from Khedarpur village was coming out of the venue after attending Narendra Modi’s rally with lotus batch pinned on his chest.

Walking hand in hand with his fellow villager who looked almost the same as his age was explaining Ishaq why he should vote for Modi. “I am from Gujjar samaj, but attended a rally supporting Rajput candidate. We should learn to accept each other. Modi is not a bad man, he will take every community along,” on which Ishaq was silently nodding his head.

When Mohammed Ishaq was asked how Narendra Modi’s speech was, he replied ‘simple and good’. So will he be voting for BJP in the assembly election? Ishaq said cautiously, “I came here along with my fellow villagers, let the polling day come will decide than,” on which his fellow villager giggled.

Gul Mohammed who runs lodging business at the town is not ready to take Modi seriously, “Here elections are fought on local issues and caste factors. Not only Narendra Modi but any national leader campaign will not yield any change in the basics.” Even though he aggress hesitantly that mere presence of Modi will create feeling of insecurity among Muslims and unconditional incline towards Congress.

Congress party workers on the other hand was cheerful evaluating their number game. Ameen Hasan, a Congress activist from Mirza Mohalla said Modi’s campaign has benefited them. He explained that although Modi didn’t use any anti-Muslim rhetoric and even made clarifications to the community but still he is a hate figure among the community whose name is enough to incite passions.

“Modi’s entry in this constituency has already terrified Muslims. Now Muslims will vote in one block with the Congress. Modi also tried to attract Meena community, if that happens then Meena vote will be divided, and both ways Congress will benefit.”

Danish Abrar Congress candidate from Sawai Madhopur dismissed Modi’s campaign as no factor in his constituency, “Election process has started, many leaders will come and go, but what my party has to do, it will do, what I have to do I will do. Inshallah you will see the result we will win Sawai Madhopur,” a confident Congress candidate, who is fighting the Assembly elections for the first time said.