Like large minority groups in democracies elsewhere, Muslims can serve as a crucial voting bloc in India. Wilkinson says that greater division among Hindu voters in southern states “made Muslims a pivotal swing group in the south very early on.” For decades, India’s National Congress party, running on a secular platform, won elections with the help of the Muslim vote. But waning Muslim support for the party, along with a plethora of choices (there are some 170 political parties in India) contributed to the party’s loss of power to the BJP in the 1990s.
Why the time has come for affirmative action to end the deprivation and dispossession of India’s Muslims.
It’s one of those seasons again when India’s politicians rediscover the existence of Muslims. With elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, and possibly early general elections looming on the horizon, the Congress has dipped into its ancient bag of tricks and come up with the reservation card for Muslims.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid suggests the government is considering a six percent quota for “backward Muslims” under the 27 percent quota allocated for economically backward communities.
The Congress wouldn’t lose anything in the bargain though. It could still claim the Muslim vote for its “efforts” to help the community get its due. If anyone would come a cropper, it will be the Muslims. But then they have been here before. The Congress knows this game of empty rhetoric and gestures all too well, having turned it into an art over the years, although one would like to give the benefit of doubt to Salman Khurshid. He is seemingly trying to do his bit. Muslims are reuniting, Muslim political parties are also flourishing in various state. One of the largest state in India is Uttar Pradesh, which is also witnessing muslim political party gaining power and command in various districts.