Washington DC: As campaigning ended today for the first of several polling phases in five states in India including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa etal, due to take place later this week, the Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM), an NGO of Indian Muslims in North America, made an appeal to all voters.
Speaking for AIM, its Executive Director Kaleem Kawaja appealed to voters to vote for parties and candidates that are secular and development oriented. He appealed to voters from various religious communities to not get swayed by propaganda in the name of religion, and to vote for parties and candidates who have in the past worked to preserve India as a secular nation where majority and minority communities and depressed caste communities get their fair share in various walks of life.
Kawaja appealed to the minority Muslim, Dalit and Sikh communities to vote tactically to ensure that their votes are not divided between several candidates from their communities that often leads to the victory of the anti-minority parties like BJP. He also appealed to the majority Hindu community to support secular candidates and minority candidates and not allow the consolidation of majority community votes in favour of non-secular parties who marginalize the religious and ethnic minorities, and that leads to turmoil in the nation.
Drawing attention to the rule of the Bharti Janata Party (BJP) in the central government since 2014, Kawaja said that this rule has been very oppressive towards religious and ethnic minorities and Dalits, who are not only being ignored in development programs, they have continually faced organized violence, police brutality and discrimination. He asked the voters to look at the examples of elections in Bihar and West Bengal one year ago where by tactical voting and by not letting their votes to be divided, secular Hindus and minorities were successful in marginalizing the sectarian parties. Both of these states have been very peaceful and have experienced much development in the last over a year.
Association of Indian Muslims of America
PO Box 10654, Silver Spring, MD 20914.