By Mohd Shafiquzzaman
All agree that the communal forces are winning elections even in Muslim majority areas because of division of Muslim Votes. Everybody appears to be concerned about preventing the splitting of Muslim votes but no-body is telling how to achieve it?
We can’t advise your on how to vote because we do not know the local conditions and local candidates and we are not repository of better wisdom than you. However we are giving you a formula for you to decide your candidate to vote, a formula which Insha Allah will work in all conditions and constituencies without the likelihood of reverse polarization.
Firstly we should understand that there are no secular parties. Only individuals are secular or communal. All the so called secular parties perhaps with the sole exception of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party have aligned with BJP at one time or the other. Therefore
Ø We should decide on the basis of individual candidates in a constituency and not a party.
Ø We shall not vote for candidate of the communal party or its ally.
Ø Ascertain that minus the above candidate who are the two front runners.
Ø We should vote for one of these two candidates who is less communal.
Ø We shall not vote for even Muslim candidate if he is not number one or two front runners in the race.
It will have four advantages:-
i) Since we may be voting for different party candidates in different constituencies, there cannot be a blame that all Muslims are voting for a particular party and hence Hindus should vote for BJP.
ii) Since the formula also envisages that Muslims shall not vote even for a Muslim candidate if he is not number 1 or 2, there cannot be a blame that Muslims are voting on communal lines.
iii) The candidate who wins with your support is more likely to be helpful to you in local matters which are cutting edge level of solutions of most of the problems of the community.
iv) All the so called secular parties may be tempted to avoid fielding avowedly communal candidates in future elections.
Ascertaining no.1 and no.2 front runners and deciding one among the two is easier said than done.
There can always be the accusation of taking money or other influences in such selection. But it is not so difficult also. Transparency is the best safeguard against all such accusations and possibilities.
This can be done in two stages as follows:
(1) Form a committee of Presidents and Secretaries of the mosques in the constituency.
(ii) Just about a week before poll, after the final list of candidates is out, the Committee should hold a meeting by invitation of non-affiliated important Muslims of the constituency and circulate a slip with the names of all the candidates. And ask every person present to tick two front runners leaving the BJP or its ally. Cont the slips and announce the names in open meeting.
(2) Again circulate a slip with these two names and ask the persons present to tick the name of the person who is less communal in their opinion. Count the slips and announce the name of the number one choice in open meeting requesting all the Muslims to vote for that candidate. And publicise it among Muslims with whatever means possible.
Even if it is not possible to hold the meetings for selecting the consensus candidate as above for any reason, the formula can be given wide publicity and if they go by this formula, following this pattern individuals will come to the right conclusion in choosing their candidate to vote.
Mohd Shafiquzzaman is an IAS (Retd.) and former Special Chief Secretary Government of Andhra Pradesh