What is the fear of Muslims and Christians that made the All India Alliance successful in Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and Tamil Nadu?

Ananya Shroff
7 Min Read

New Delhi: The results of the Lok Sabha elections 2024 surprised everyone. BJP suffered a major setback in this election. BJP could not even touch the majority figure on its own. However, NDA got a majority and now BJP has also made preparations to form a new government. But the opposition alliance seems happy even after losing. In states like UP, the Indi alliance performed well. A large part of the success of the Indi alliance rests on Muslims, who voted decisively against the BJP and formed an alliance with backward castes and Dalits. This prevented the BJP from getting a clear majority, while the Samajwadi Party in UP and the TMC in West Bengal got a clear lead. Apart from Muslims, other minorities also played a role in changing the election results. Muslims and Christians, who constitute 12% of the population in Tamil Nadu, were important vote banks for the Indi alliance.

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What are the experts saying?

Experts say this is due to the BJP's failure to reach out to Pasmanda Muslims and its anti-Muslim rhetoric during the election campaign. However, the most important factor that enabled the backward-Muslim alliance was the BJP's announcement that Muslim reservation within the OBC quota would be removed. The BJP began its campaign with a 'developing India' agenda, but the narrative fizzled out after the first phase. Professor Khalid Anees Ansari, a sociologist at Azim Premji University, described Prime Minister Modi's outreach to the Pasmanda people as 'repetitive', saying, “In one speech he speaks about the Pasmandas and then in the next speech he calls Muslims infiltrators.” Modi accused the TMC of appeasing the 'Muslim vote bank' and attacked the Congress, saying they would seize the property of Hindus and distribute it among Muslims. He accused them of doing 'politics of appeasement'. The BJP also accused former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of saying that Muslims have the first right over the country's resources.

Direct contest with SP in UP

In direct contests, SP's Mohibullah defeated BJP's Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi in Rampur, while Iqra Choudhary from Kairana and Afzal Ansari from Ghazipur also registered victories. In West Bengal, TMC's Yusuf Pathan defeated Congress veteran and five-time MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The Muslim vote in West Bengal was not divided between the Left and the Congress and the BSP in UP, as some had expected. It is also worth noting that the number of Muslim candidates in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections has come down. The BJP has fielded the only Muslim candidate, Abdus Salam, from Malappuram in Kerala, while its ally JDU in Bihar has given tickets to two candidates. The representation of the community has also come down in opposition parties.

Muslims of the South expressed their trust in INDI

Though the AIADMK broke away from the BJP and secured the support of smaller Muslim parties like SDPI, AIMIM, INLP and UMMK, the more influential IUML and MMK joined hands with the DMK-Congress alliance and helped them win big. The effective strategy of the India Block parties, coupled with the support of the Tamil Nadu Jamaat-ul-Ulama Sabai, a body of Muslim clerics, and the Tamil Nadu Bishops Council, played a key role in swaying the minority vote in their favour. The minority vote contributed significantly to the victory of the India Block in 15 seats, namely Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram, the Nilgiris, Central Chennai, Trichy, Thanjavur, Dindigul, Vellore, Coimbatore, Pollachi, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai and Arakkonam. It is worth noting here that the BJP and its allies finished second in seven of these seats.

Muslim votes changed the result!

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin-led DMK and its allies have seen a huge drop in votes. There has been a drop of 7.5 lakh votes compared to the last victory. The biggest drop was in Arakkonam. These figures reflect the shift of loyal votes towards NDA components. Despite this, the support India Block received from minority communities played a big role in changing the election results.

What did minorities think when they voted?

MJK president Tamimun Ansari said, 'For the minorities, the goal is not who should win, but who should not return to power. There is a growing fear about what is happening at the Centre.' This fear was evident when women voted in large numbers across the state, surprising people in their community. The fear of being excluded from the 'system' and the 'controversial' decisions of the NDA government at the Centre have caused a lot of unrest among the minorities. Concerns have also been raised about judicial decisions in recent years. The consistent efforts of the INDI alliance parties to advance the interests of the minorities bore fruit. The INDI alliance parties strongly criticised the AIADMK for its 'role' in passing the CAA. The last-minute condemnation of the notification of CAA rules by the BJP government by the AIADMK was seen as an 'election ploy'.

Minorities recalled DMK MP Tiruchi N Siva's resolution in Parliament to include Tamils ​​of Sri Lankan origin and Muslims, which the AIADMK had supported. AIADMK's efforts to win back Muslim support after breaking ties with the BJP failed. AIADMK contested 12 seats while allies DMDK and SDPI contested three seats each, but suffered a crushing defeat. No party was able to gain the confidence of minority voters. In Kanyakumari, AIADMK candidate Pasiliyan Nazareth came fourth with 41,393 votes, followed by Maria Jennifer Clara Michael of NTK. While the ulama called the Congress the main alternative to the BJP, the TN Bishops Council urged its community to prioritise secularism over communal politics.

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