Kalupur (Ahmedabad District), Dec.10: On election eve in Gujarat, both Hindus and Muslims have given a mixed reaction as to what they expect from the December 11 and December 16 hustings.
The current politics in the state reflects a polarisation between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.
Take for instance the highly sensitive constituency of Kalupur, which is one among 19 constituencies in Ahmedabad District that consist of mixed communities. Here, the Hindus and Muslims have separated their localities with a pole.
During the 2002 Assembly elections, 56.04 percent voters turned out to exercise their franchise. The Kalupur constituency registered the maximum voter turnout of 74.98 percent (75,495 voters cast their votes). Kalupur has 60 percent Muslim voters, and a non–Muslim candidate has never won.
Now, after five years, there is a mixed reaction on political views. While Hindus generally feel safe, Muslims prefer not to speak very aggressively against the government.
Sultana, a resident, rues that "The parties have only exploited us. Nobody is bothered about development. For us, there is no change in the last five years. We don"t want Narendra Modi."
Abdul Rehman Masuri says “ We face a lot of problems. The Government is not interested in us. Modi"s claim of development and growth is wrong. The Congress has always tried to bank on us, but has failed to keep their promises. We are simply not interested in the electoral process. They have used us like a football."
This time, the Muslims say they are neither with the BJP nor with the Congress.
Some, however, reacted positively to the achievements of the Modi Government. Mehmood Bhai, a shopkeeper, said: “The political atmosphere is good. We don"t have any problem. The Government has worked effectively. We don"t want to get involved in political matters. Being a citizen, we are happy here. We just want a good government .We want peace and harmony, and we are safe under Modi"s regime."
The macro picture as far as the Hindu/Muslim divide is concerned, looks bleak. But the people somehow are in a state of denial.
Hindu voters in Kalupur feel safe and happy with Modi.
Hiten Shah, a chemist, said: “Modi will win. He has fulfilled promises and worked for the development and growth of Gujarat. Muslims also feel the same."
Kokilaben says “Being a citizen, I feel Modi is perfect for Gujarat . Whatever the Congress is spreading against Modi is fake. I feel safe coming late at night at home. No state is an exception of Hindu – Muslim conflict. We want the BJP for its policies for development."
Meanwhile, both political parties are trying their hard to woo voters for their party.