Voting for ‘change’: Civic issues, livelihood priorities for Muslims

voting for ‘change’: civic issues, livelihood priorities for muslims

Voting for ‘change’: Civic issues, livelihood priorities for Muslims

New Delhi: The Muslim community, an important constituency in itself given its numerical significance in Delhi, considered the electoral issues that others in the city had also raised, such as good civic facilities, water supply and women’s safety. But they seem to have overwhelmingly regarded employment creation and national progress benefiting all sections of society as decisive factors while voting.

The 2011 census counts the Muslims as 12.9% of Delhi’s population. The North East Lok Sabha constituency has the highest component of Muslims voters at 20.7%, but others too have a sizeable percentage. Chandni Chowk has 14%, East Delhi and New Delhi 16.8%, North West Delhi 10.6%, South Delhi 7% and West Delhi, 6.8%. These numbers, however, are estimates of political parties and not official figures.

“A BJP govt at the Centre and an AAP govt in Delhi cannot work together,” reasoned software designer Mohammad Haseeb, 36, at a polling booth in Mehrauli. “We had a BJP MP for 10 years and we want a change. I want my representative to take up our problems in Parliament,” he added, citing unemployment and law and order as major issues in Delhi.

Nawab Khan, 64, arrived at the Jafrabad polling station with sons Danish Khan, 35, and Basit Khan, 29. "There is a scarcity of job opportunities. I have voted with this in mind,” said the sexagenarian. The sons concurred with their father's opinion. At Rohini Sector 5, Mohammad Wasim, 28, said he worried about the state of employment in the country. "There is a need to generate more jobs than ever,” he said. Wasim, who works in the hospitality industry, added, “Without this, our youth will not be able to realise their aspirations, their dreams."

Mohammad Masroof, a resident of NSA Colony in east Delhi, disclosed his and his family’s votes had gone to the INDIA candidate. “We want someone who will work for the progress of the nation while benefiting all sections of society,” he said. His wife, Samar Jahan, added, “Though BJP govt is performing well, it must allow everyone to have the liberty to follow their faith without restrictions.”

There were local issues too that exercised the mind of the voters from the community. Homemaker Shainaz Begum, 54, of Jafrabad was concerned about women’s safety. “After I lost my husband, my daughter took up a teaching job. I constantly worry about her because the roads are not safe for women. We see Congress as a strong alternative,” she said.

Homemaker Rubina at Chhatarpur was content with the work of the state govt. “I’m getting free bus rides, my child is studying in a private school because of the EWS policy and our electricity and water bills have reduced,” she said. “In 2014, we elected a BJP govt, which delivered on some promises, but then indulged in the politics of divide and rule.” Her father-in-law interjected, “We want a govt we can trust.”

While Afsar Jahan, 41, of Ballimaran wanted the roads and water quality improved with the joint effort of the MLA and MP, Farhan Ruby, 55, also of Ballimaran, added that sanitation and infrastructure in the whole of Old Delhi needed a drastic relook. “Look at the roads, they are all damaged. And it seems no cleaning has happened today. There are heaps of garbage all over the place,” she said, echoing Jahan’s thought that the INDIA parties were more aligned to these local concerns.

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