To counter ‘Modi wave’ Tamil Muslims put their weight behind DMK alliance

By Mohd Ismail Khan,,

Chennai: The rise of Narendra Modi at national stage has warmed up the setting sun of DMK in Tamil Nadu with Muslim electorate getting polarized behind the party cutting across ideological leanings as never witnessed before.

Although there are just nearly 50 lakh Muslims in the state, comprising 6% of state population, but in a four way contest which Tamil Nadu is witnessing this election even 1% vote shift will make a difference.

To counter 'Modi wave' Tamil Muslims put their weight behind DMK alliance

Breaking the tradition, the two regional giants DMK and AIADMK is fighting election without any alliance with the national parties this time.

DMK is fighting elections with alliance of Dalit and Muslim political parties, consisting of Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Puthiya Tamzihagam, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, and Indian Union Muslim league.

To counter 'Modi wave' Tamil Muslims put their weight behind DMK alliance

Whereas Jayalalitha’s AIADMK is going all alone. Keeping in mind her personal relations with Modi, Muslims in Tamil Nadu is quiet certain that she will join NDA after elections.

Narendra Modi’s rainbow alliance with other smaller state players like DMDK, MDMK, PMK, IJK and KMDK has also alarmed Tamil Muslims seeing Modi’s infiltration in their backyard.

To counter 'Modi wave' Tamil Muslims put their weight behind DMK alliance

Abdul Basith, a young software professional from Chennai says that he has been a traditional DMK voter, but was disillusioned till recently with corruption scandals in the party. But now in this election he said it’s more important to vote for DMK.

“All the other regional parties are now with Modi. There is a huge scope that AIADMK will join NDA. So if I vote for them it is directly helping Modi to form Govt. at center, in this background Karunanidhi is the only anti-Modi force to reckon with,” Basith told TCN.

To counter 'Modi wave' Tamil Muslims put their weight behind DMK alliance

Jamat-e-Islami Tamil Nadu unit president Shabbir Ahmed told that his organization has issued a dictate to all its followers to vote for DMK at maximum seats and some to Congress and Left parties where it has chance for winning.

Mr. Ahmed lives in Central Chennai where Dayanidhi Maran is contesting, he want to look for other options instead of voting for a corrupt politician, but what is the other choice he wonders. His organization is also supporting DMK alliance against his good friend Congress’s Mani Shakar Aiyer. Jamat even went over board and met Christian leaders insisting on them to support DMK and to vote in one block to defeat pro Modi parties.

Keeping Modi at bay is not just Jamat’s phobia, every ordinary Muslim from villages of Tamil Nadu will tell you the same tactic behind voting for DMK. Baseer a farmer from Mannampandal village which comes under Mayiladuthurai constituency wanted to vote for his former MP Mani Shankar Aiyer but now he is campaigning for DMK alliance candidate Hyder Ali. “Our village Jamat head told us if our votes get divided than a ‘killer of Muslims’ will win the elections. So we decided to support DMK backed candidate who is also a Muslim.”

In Uchipuli village of Ramnathapuram constituency Abdul Raheem a coconut seller tells that even though both DMK and AIADMK candidates are Muslims he is choosing DMK candidate an outsider from Madurai over AIADMK candidate from his neighboring village, reason “My vote should not directly or indirectly benefit Narendra Modi.”

Karunanidhi and Stalin’s public meeting always have a sight of green flags with crescent swinging along with DMK flags, which is creating a sense of affiliation for Muslims. Whereas for AIADMK it’s a one women show, her word is last. Till recently no word on Modi was the signal where party is heading for future.

In Rameshwaram Island near Sri Lankan border a group of Muslims after Zohar prayer discuss local politics. They also choose DMK over every other party, Naine Mohammed a local fish trader said, “Vote to DMK is a vote against (Narendra) Modi”. He explained further, “It is open secret for everyone in Tamil Nadu that Jayalalitha will join NDA after elections so vote to AIADMK is a vote for Modi.” Everyone sitting nodded their heads in agreement.

To counter 'Modi wave' Tamil Muslims put their weight behind DMK alliance

In northern part of state in Vellore constituency Muslim League sitting MP is again in the battle. But Mohammed Khaled who runs biryani joint in front of famous Christian Medical hospital is not very happy with sitting MP accusing him of non-accessible, still he will vote for Muslim League. “I am not voting for the candidate but for DMK alliance,” he said in Deccani Urdu “It is the only feasible and winnable option for Muslims right now.”

MMK and IUML alliance partners of DMK claim that Karunanidhi was the only trusted force to go with considering changed political conditions at center. Prof. Jawaharullah MLA and chief of MMK was confident that DMK will never go with NDA as it has once been in 1999, “DMK in its manifesto promised to build a secular Govt. at center so there is no question of it returning back to NDA or supporting Modi.”

IUML state president Khader Mohiuddin in public meeting crossed all the boundaries of political friendship and in a devotional way told Muslims that like Namaz and Haj it is ‘Farz’ (compulsory) for them to vote for DMK.

Abdul Rehman Muslim league MP from Vellore explained, “Our alliance with DMK is on policy basis. Not a love affair. They have promised us that whatever will be the political scenario at Center they will never bend towards alliance with Modi to compromise over its principles.”

To counter 'Modi wave' Tamil Muslims put their weight behind DMK alliance

Lately Jayalalitha was getting open support from only one but influential Muslim organization Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamat on cost of community’s ire. Facing opposition from its own cadre TNTJ leadership have withdrawn its support to AIADMK and now openly campaigning for DMK. The reason they gave, Jayalalitha was not attacking Modi at all.

After losing its only Muslim ally, AIADMK chief has pitched up attack against Modi but even after getting what they said was missing TNTJ is now speaking the language of commoner Tamil Muslim. Sithhiq its spokesperson said those attacks doesn’t matter anymore now, “We have got signal that after elections she will join NDA even if it is under Modi. There is no question of backing AIADMK again.”

Valeeur Rehman a senior journalist who works with noted Tamil Magazines sums up Tamil Muslim psyche for 2014 parliamentary elections. He told TCN, “In the past Muslims voted along with general trend. But this election even though AIADMK is enjoying popular support Muslims will go along with DMK. Only with one agenda to stop Narendra Modi form government at the centre.”