Posts Tagged ‘United Democratic Front’

Muslims in revolt – By Farzand Ahmed – INDIA TODAY

February 28, 2009


Muslims in revolt


Ulema council participants at their meeting

Ulema council participants at their meeting


Come election season and the M-word begins to resonate in the nation’s political mindscape. This time around, the poll dynamics of the community have gone into overdrive after the new-found friendship between ‘Maulvi’ Mulayam Singh Yadav and ‘Hindu Hriday Samrat’ (emperor of Hindu hearts) Kalyan Singh triggered the mushrooming of political outfits across the nation. 

Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, founder of the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) which won 13 seats in the 2005 Assam polls, came to Delhi to announce a pan-India Muslim party, the first since Independence, with units in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. 

An alumnus of Deoband, he has the backing of the Dar-ul-Uloom, Jamaat-ul-Ulema Hind, Jamaat-I-Islami Hind and Nadwat-ul-Tameer. The AUDF seems set to contest 20 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 in Maharashtra and nine in Assam.


Similarly, the month-old Ulema Council (UC), created to fight “state terrorism against Azamgarh’s innocent youth” and to demand a judicial inquiry into the Batla House shootout, declared it would ‘bury’ Mayawati’s elephant and ‘puncture’ Mulayam’s bicycle in this election. 

Its February 20 rally at Lucknow reflected the mood of the Muslims who feel they are the victims of political gamesmanship. Sonia Gandhi was referred to as sunehri nagin (golden serpent) and Mayawati kali nagin (black serpent). 

Mufti Abdullah Phoolpuri, one of UC’s top leaders, said it would field its own candidates as most leaders forget the community once elected.


The launch of another front

The launch of another front


Meanwhile, Salim Peerzada, president of the Parcham Party of India (PPI), which has been contesting elections since 2002, has cobbled together a new front consisting of PPI, the All India Muslim Masjid and the National Loktantrik Party (NLP)—all of who have contested elections. 

“We want to create a 21st-century party, a secular-democratic outfit. Our objective is to help create a third front of Muslim-led, leftist, secular and centrist parties. We want to live in a democratic set-up and get our due, but not by extra-constitutional means,” says Peerzada. 

The trend is clearly national. Tamil Nadu, for instance, has seen a new Muslim-based political party Manidaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK). According to M.H. Jawahirullah, coordinator, MMK, the party will establish “a strong India… As a Muslim, it is our fundamental duty to strive for the development of our nation.”


While much of the political churning has to do with Uttar Pradesh, the parties are of significance considering the importance of the Muslim vote. Muslims form more than 30 per cent of the electorate in 42 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the country. 

West Bengal accounts for 10 of them; Uttar Pradesh and Kerala come next with eight each while Assam and J&K account for five each. However, in constituencies where their percentage is between 20 and 30 per cent, the number of seats rises to a staggering 140, including 20 in Uttar Pradesh. 

The highest concentration of Muslims (between 10 and 20 per cent) is in Uttar Pradesh (42 constituencies), West Bengal (20), Bihar (17), Assam, Karnataka and Kerala (8 each), Maharashtra (7), J&K, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh (6 each). 

New political alliances could rework the electoral calculus

New political alliances could rework the electoral calculus

In any Lok Sabha poll calculus, Uttar Pradesh—and consequently the Muslim vote—is the key. In the 1998 Lok Sabha polls only 7 per cent of Muslims voted for the BSP and 61 per cent voted for the SP, and in the 2007 Assembly polls, 32 per cent voted for the BSP and 40 per cent for the SP. Mayawati’s plan to turn the division in her favour could well upset Mulayam’s calculations. 

The Mulayam camp believes their leader would regain the confidence of Muslims once candidates and alliances are in place. 

So what impact would the new Muslim-oriented groupings have on traditional poll arithmetic? Analysts believe new parties like the UC might end up helping the BJP. 

“Its provocative slogans and posturing would polarise voters in favour of the BJP,” said Muslim Majlis vice-president Bader Kazmi. Others think that Uttar Pradesh already has seen a number of Muslim outfits that fell by the wayside. 

 Latest alliances

  • Feb 23, 2009: UP Milli Mahaz — Formed by three existing parties—PPI, AIMM and NLP, all of which have fought elections. Wants to create a secular democratic outfit and a third front of Muslim-led parties. The AIMM is a known party since 1968 and the other two have their own areas of influence
  • Feb 19: Ulema Council — Held rallies in Delhi and Lucknow and plans to contest 8 seats in Uttar Pradesh. May help polarise votes in favour of the BJP.
  • Feb 16: Secular Ekta Party — Formed by Haji Shahid Akhlaque, after denial of ticket by SP. He was BSP’s Lok Sabha MP in 2004 and later joined the SP. May create an impact in Meerut with former minister Haji Yaqoob.
  • Feb 8: MMK — Launched in Chennai to strive for the development of the nation, welfare of minorities and the underprivileged sections.
    MMK coordinator M.H.Jawahirullah says the party was launched with a view to establish “a strong India through service to the society.”New in the political arena and just a beginner.
  • Feb 2, 2009: United Democratic Front –Launched by Maulana Badruddin Ajmal of AUDF which won 13 seats in the 2005 Assam polls. Called the MUDF in Maharashtra, the party, along with other outfits, can affect the BSP and SP in western Uttar Pradesh.
  • Feb 10, 2008: Peace Party of India — Launched by surgeon Dr Mohammad Ayub to unite Dalits, Muslims and the backward classes. May have an impact in pockets of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Existing Muslim parties include Salauddin Khan’s People’s Democratic Front (PDF), the Peace Party of India led by surgeon Mohammad Ayub, the Majlis-e-Mashawart and the National Loktantrik Party. There is also the Insaan Dosti Party, led by former director-general of police S.M. Naseem. But most don’t last. 

The 2007 Assembly polls in the state saw the PDF, supported by CPI (ML) and the late V.P. Singh’s Jan Morcha, and Shahi Imam Ahmad Bukhari’s United Democratic Front (UDF) making waves but later their leaders were won over by Mulayam or just disappeared. Other states have well established Muslim parties. 

These including the India Union Muslim League of Kerala and the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Musalmeen in Andhra Pradesh.What is more relevant in the Muslim context is the sociological profile. Muslims in southern and western India are better off because the wealthy among them stayed back during Partition whereas most of the educated and wealthy Muslims in the north migrated to Pakistan. 

Then there is caste, which does not exist in theory but divides the community into three groups—Ashraf, Ajlaf, and Arzal. The Ashraf are upper-class Muslims, while the Ajlaf are Hindu converts. The Arzal are considered converts from the lowest Hindu castes. 

This complex sociological structure is prone to being upset by shifting poll alliances, especially in Uttar Pradesh. The coming together of Mulayam and Kalyan has already disturbed the poll arithmetic in the state. 

Veteran leaders, including former minister Mohammad Azam Khan, and influential MPs like Saleem Shervani, Shafiq-ur-Rahman Barq, Afzal Ansari and Shahid Akhlaque have rebelled against Mulayam and, barring Azam Khan, one of the creators of the SP, have walked out on him.

Other controversial leaders—Atiq Ahmad and Mukhtar Ansari, in jail, and Rizwan Zahir— have shifted to Mayawati. “Mulayam’s alliance with Kalyan has created revulsion among Muslims. He will have to pay dearly,” said state Nationalist Congress Party chief Ramesh Dixit. 

Indeed, the ‘revulsion’ runs so deep that SP national general secretary Amar Singh was turned away from the seminaries of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband and Dar-ul-Uloom (Waqf) when he tried to explain that the deal with Kalyan was to weaken the BJP. 

In Lucknow, Mulayam invited over 100 religious leaders to discuss his political moves but failed to convince them. Kalyan’s record in Uttar Pradesh makes matters worse, apart from his role in the Babri Masjid demolition. 

After quitting the BJP, he formed his own regional party, helped Mulayam form a government in 2003 and in the bargain got ministerial berths for his son Rajbir and confidante Kusum Rai. Later, on the eve of the 2004 general elections, he dumped Mulayam and returned to the BJP.

“He is a four-ticket leader. He will go with any party which would give tickets to Kusum, his son, his daughter-in-law and him,” says Dixit.

Now, he is the cause of the Muslim revolt against Mulayam by seasoned politicians— many of who were looking at the BSP after Mulayam either changed their constituencies or denied them tickets. SP leaders believe, however, that it could well be a knee-jerk reaction.

All India Babri Masjid Action Committee chief Zafaryab Jilani says: “Except for shaking hands with Kalyan, Mulayam has not yet done any harm to Muslims, so the damage is not irreparable.”

At the root of the controversy is vote share. While Mulayam wants to get the Lodh vote (2.5 per cent) in central Uttar Pradesh to add to the Muslim (18.5 per cent), Yadav (8.61 per cent) and Thakur (12.78 per cent) vote, Mayawati wants to corner Muslim votes and add them to the Dalit (21 per cent), Brahmin (13.82 per cent) and Vaish (3.91 per cent) vote.

The emergence of new Muslim groupings may not amount to significant vote shifts in the coming polls, but the political churning does indicate that the Muslim vote cannot be taken for granted. The battle to win the Hindi heartland and Muslim minds has been joined.

The Muslim Third Front in Maharashtra is welcome – By Ghulam Muhammed

November 11, 2008



Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The Muslim Third Front in Maharashtra is welcome!


By Ghulam Muhammed


The news that ‘Muslims to form third front for upcoming polls’ in Maharashtra, is a moment for the history. In the last sixty years of India’s independence, only two incidence of political courage by Muslim can be cited as true coming of age of Muslim consciousness. One was the success of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal’s United Democratic Front winning 10 MLA seats in Assam, directly challenging Congress hold over Muslim voters. It was certainly a liberating first to challenge the oligarchy of Congress that has enslaved Muslim voters by any number of ruses and reduced the proud community to be lowest of low, in all aspect of human existence. The second success can easily be identified with Maulana Ismail’s confident winning streak in Malegaon that got it largest number of seats in the corporation elections, though short of majority to form a government. Both the historical firsts did not succeed to claim outright victory of their initial efforts; but then Rome is not built in a day. Those who have analysed the basics of the success of the two Third Front efforts, are convinced there is no going back. The beginners have tasted blood and they cannot be held back now, come what may. No doubt, it is time for change, borrowing from the wind blowing from Obama country. The old guards had made a mess of the country. New efforts to form new alliances and new vision of what should be the standard of justice, fairplay, human bonding, and of a life not given to obsessive corruption and therefore criminal pursuits.


It will be interesting to note two more efforts around the country at this very moment in time to form third front collage with Muslim participation or leadership at the helm. Last week, CPM, CPI, Dev Gouda’s Janata Dal, Mayawati’s BSP gathered at a modest Aiwan e Ghalib to begin the long journey to form a front against the two ‘Brahminical’ formations that pose as the owners of the land. A second gathering of 6000 Ulama in Hyderabad too was in essence groping for associations to hesitantly enter the political arena, flaunting the many entanglements that keep them tied down in their present helpless disposition. Both in my thinking are laboured attempts and may take a very long, very long runway to take up the speed and thrust to be airborne. In comparison, Maulana Badruddin’s leadership is more well-defined, more direct, more confident and it is flexible enough not to be bogged down in self-inflicted fixations on the organizational or bureaucratic or even ideological minefields.


The road ahead is long and the Maharashtra oligarchs will band together to give a fitting fight, not to let any ‘outsider’ poach on their turf. But the insider crowd flocking to the alternative of Third Front is enough to project the fundamental flaws in the existing makeup of the political formations in the state, whose monopoly is based on brute and cruel inhuman treatment of its people who have given them their trust for a long long time. All of them have betrayed that trust and run roughshod over the people, with open public disdain and arrogance. It is time for a change.


Welcome Muslim Third Front in Maharashtra!



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai



From: The Times of India, Mumbai

Muslims to form third front for upcoming polls

S Balakrishnan I TNN 

Mumbai: Efforts are being made to form a third front to protect the interests of Muslims in Maharashtra. Badruddin Ajmal, a city-based businessman, who successfully formed a third front in Assam and managed to get as many as 10 MLAs elected, told TOI on Monday: “I am speaking to various groups. In fact, I am looking at a front of not only Muslims, but also of others who want a third front.’’

    Farid Batatawala, an activist, said: “Muslims are upset with the Congress-NCP alliance in
Maharashtra for a number of reasons. The other alternative, the Shiv Sena-BJP combine, is also not acceptable to them. Under the circumstances, a serious effort is being made to find a third alternative.’’ Of the 288 assembly seats, there are at least 50 seats where Muslims can play a decisive role if they vote en bloc.

    Farid Shaikh, secretary of the Bombay Aman Committee, a Muslim NGO, said: “Actually, we want to unite with all genuinely secular forces and form a third front. We refuse to be used as a vote bank anymore.’’ Advocate Majeed Memon, who is national secretary of the NCP, said: “It will be unfortunate if Muslims think in terms of forming a political party exclusively for their community. The welfare of Muslims lies in joining the secular mainstream.’’

Nawab Malik, senior MLA and former minister, said: “The handling of certain issues by the government has created considerable disquiet in the community. A glaring case is that of the ATS’ handling of the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts,’’ he said. “When those arrested by the crime branch in connection with the blasts in Ahmedabad are admitting that they were behind the 7/11 blasts, the government should have the guts to admit their mistake and take action against the policemen who wrongly booked innocent Muslim youths. A public admission of wrongdoing will be appreciated.’’

    There is also a growing demand to probe the mysterious death of ACP Vishnu Bhatt, a member of the ATS which was probing the 7/11 blasts, who allegedly committed suicide in August 2006. “Apparently, Bhatt ended his life, unable to cope with the pressure to book innocent Muslims in the blasts,’’ an MLA alleged.

    A Congress activist said that party MLA Arif Naseem Khan had to wage a legal battle and move the SC to get the government to implement the Justice Srikrishna Commission report, which probed the communal riots of 1992-93. “Even then the report is not being implemented in toto,’’ the activist said. The Khwaja Yunus case has also angered the community. “Till date, no one knows the fate of Khwaja, who was picked up and tortured for his alleged role in the blasts,’’ a former police official said.