Lok Sabha elections: JCMOE guidelines for Muslim voters

By Manzar Bilal, TwoCircles.net,

Patna: Though Muslim leaders have been demanding the government to implement expeditiously the revised 15 Points Programme and the suggestions made by the Sachar Committee and to recognize the Muslim as a Backward Class under article 15(4) and 16(4) of the constitution and implement the recommendation of the Mishra Commission. But unfortunately, very little progress was made in the implementation of the Programme or the Sachar Report while the Mishra Report was simply filed away to gather dust, as had been done in the case of Gopal Singh Panel Report in (1983) and the Mandal Commission Report, 1979.

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Some Muslim leaders formed the ‘Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment (JCMOE)’ some months back to focus on a single demand namely, reservation for Muslims and to place it on the top of the Muslim agenda.

Earlier, the JCMOE organized The National Convention on Muslim Reservation in New Delhi on February 1st 2009, in order to mobilize public opinion.

The Resolution passed in the conference to exert pressure on the political system in the coming election, had advised the Muslim electorate to give the highest priority to the demand for reservation in public employment, higher education, benefits of social development and flow of resources for the Muslim in proportion to their population and level of backwardness.

The JCMOE has decided to prepare an electoral guidelines for the Muslim community on the eve of the LS elections to enable Muslim organizations to assist the electorate to select and support parties and candidates in Muslim winnable constituencies with the primary objective of enlarging support for Muslim reservation, reaffirming their rejection of communal parties and supporting the formation of a secular government at the centre.

As per its promise the JCMOE issued guidelines for the Muslim voters which are as follows;

1. (a) At the constituency level the Muslim electorate, particularly the women and the youth, must vote massively to raise their turn-out above the average, to 100%, which will increase their effective political weight.

(b) The Muslim electorate must vote unitedly for a common candidate, not necessarily a Muslim or belonging to the same party, but generally the most winnable secular candidate of a secular party in the constituency.

2. (a)The Muslim electorate should not vote for weak candidates on the basis of personal relationship or past favours or fear of reprisal or physical violence.

(b)Muslim electorate should not vote under the influence of recent events or emotional issues but always take a long-term view on the overall progress of the community and the nation.

(c)Muslim electorate should not vote for small parties or mini parties of recent origin which are most likely to face defeat and thus waste their vote.

3. (a)The Muslim electorate faces no difficulty when there is only one secular candidate of a secular party pitted against a communal party. But when there are more than one such candidates in a constituency, it should carefully select one of them for extending its fully support through a consultation and dialogue mechanism consistory of a representative cross-section of distinguished Muslims of the constituency who have knowledge, experience and political understanding and are not active in the ranks of any political party. The consultation should take the following points into consideration;

(i) It should be observed that the candidate and the party generally support legitimate Muslim aspirations, in particular, the demand for reservation.

(ii) Political record of the party and of the candidate, in situations of Muslim concern and distress.

(iii) Relative winnability with the reference to the strength of their social core and other political factors and their performance in 2004.

(iv) Overall, acceptability of the candidate by the community.

(v) Proportion of Muslims among the candidates fielded by the party in the state or in the country, their reputation and location.

4 (a) Where Muslims are less than 20%, they should vote for the most winnable candidate of a secular party.

(b) In high concentration seats up to 30%, they should vote for the most winnable candidate of a secular party, preferably a Muslim.

(c) In Muslim majority constituencies, they should vote for the most winnable Muslim candidate, including an independent.

The JCMOE requested all Muslim organizations, particularly those which are its members, to take immediate initiative at the constituency level to form the Consultation Mechanism which would unite and mobilize the Muslim electorate for the common cause.

It also appealed to all Muslim organizations to actively support reservation as the first political objective of the community and to advise the Muslim voters throughout the country by all means at their disposal.

The JCMOE made clear that Muslim community has always favoured the formation of a secular stable and strong government at the centre but to promote secularism and stability is not the sole responsibility of the Muslims but the common responsibility of all citizens. The primary interest of the Muslims today is to raise their representation in the Lok Sabha with vocal and fearless MP’s and to promote their legitimate aspiration for Reservation.