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Are Muslims too looking towards Aam Aadmi Party as an alternative over the traditional parties?
Political parties in India often accuse each other of playing vote bank politics. BJP is accused of playing vote bank politics to lure Hindu voters, similarly allegations are levelled against the Congress that it tries to attract Muslim voters. Not only the national parties but the regional parties like Samajwadi Party is also accused of playing vote bank politics to attract Muslim voters.

If one leaves BJP, other political outfits see Muslims as a big vote bank for them. This is because Muslim votes generally don't go in favour of BJP be it Assembly elections or the Lok Sabha polls due to its saffron image.  

During elections, parties make big promises to Muslims. They are promised various elections sops like welfare schemes, development of their areas, employment opportunities, reservation in jobs etc etc. However, post poll they get nothing in practical. This may be one reason that Muslim voters too are looking for an alternative to whom they can vote to bring in power. 

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is getting enthusiastic response after their stunning debut in Delhi. AAP has attracted voters from every religion and caste. Muslims too are in the list of their followers.

How anxiously Muslims are searching for an option could be understood from the fact that a noted Muslim organisation Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) for the first time since the their participation in the elections in 2002 has come out strongly against the Congress.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has endorsed the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party and appealed to the Muslims to support the newly-born party. The JIH has also asked the community to shun the Congress, a move likely to worry the grand old party that is counting on minorities to stem anti-incumbency.

We spoke to few Muslim organisations and intellectuals to know their perception about Aam Aadmi Party. We tried to figure out whether they see AAP as an alternative over other political parties.

Syed Babar Ashraf, General Secretary, All India Ulma Mashaik Board:
“Those who fulfill the commitment must be think of, and I think AAP is in position to fulfill the commitments. People will have an alternate option. Those people who do good for the society must be voted, and people need to think about that. Not only Muslims but also the whole the country will have to think about the future of the AAP. They still have to prove a lot, and if they continue to do the good work than definitely people will affiliate themselves with this party.”

Prof. Arif Hameed, Chairman, Dept. of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University:
Arif Hameed“AAP's basic agenda is good governance, and I think that not only Muslims but Hindus and all the other communities must see AAP as a good alternative. After the demolition of Babri Masjid Muslims have serious issues with the Congress and they gave their votes to non-Congress parties like the regional parties such as BSP, SP.  As I can see that the votes will be distributed among these three Parties i.e. BJP, Congress, and AAP.

I think that with the coming of AAP in elections BJP will be benefited as votes of Muslims will be divided Yes, I will vote to AAP as an Indian as they talk about removing corruption, bringing down inflation. Not only Muslims but every Indian should at least give a thought before voting.”
Abdul Hameed Nomani, Spokesperson, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind:
Abdul Hameed Nomani“Our organization generally doesn't talk about such issues issues like whom to vote or whom to reject. If such decisions are taken, they are taken up by the Working Committee. I think who ever is a secular party Muslim must vote that party only. BJP is purely a religion based party and that's why we condemn that party and Muslims should not vote them. Kejriwal is getting the attention of the people from the entire country and I think Muslims should take their decision smartly. Muslim community is not a bonded labour of any party, we will see what Kejriwal is going to achieve. The issues that are raised by the AAP will surely attract the attention of people. The party which doesn't' serve the purpose of Muslim community may be declined by the community.”

Qamar Agha, Sr. Journalist & Expert on Middle East politics:

Qamar Agha“Any party which doesn't do religion based politics must be welcomed by the people of the country. I personally believe that religion should not be mixed with the politics. AAP still doesn't have the national affiliation,  it's just start up. I personally believe that persons or organizations those who give these type of statements (Nusrat Ali's statement) should not do that as it create doubts and problems for the Muslim Community. And as far as my vote is concerned I still haven't made a decision about which party I am going to vote. Today, the country's biggest problem is corruption and AAP is right now focusing on Delhi. Kejriwal doesn't have an ideological plan on national level. Mere slogan will not work for them. They have to prove themselves and its been worth watching who else are going to join this party.”

Maulana Syed Shehnawaz Chisti, Ajmer:
"I think that those who do good work for the country must be given preference and vote should be given that, and if they (AAP) do good work they will definitely get the votes from all the community. I will definitely vote for them and people must give their vote to them”.

Imran Ali, Supreme Court, Advocate:
Imran Ali“I don't think AAP is only alternate for anyone and the origin, or genesis is doubtful of that party. And AAP, Congress and BJP all work to together and Ashok Singhal himself said that he was funding in the Ram Lila Maidan. AAP doesn't talk about development. They are just repeating the same term i.e. removal of corruption and corrupts. I don't support any religion based politics. The basic problem of Muslims in the country is safety. They want to feel safe in their own country. The issues like water, corruption are second priority for them. If they don't feel save in the country than where is the question of water, electricity, and corruption. I am not going to give my vote to the AAP. There will be better option than this party.”

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