NEW DELHI – India’s former lawmaker Shahid Siddiqui has asked Muslims to find an alternative soon if they want to be part of the national political mainstream.
Through his media commentary in the Hindustan Times newspaper, he wrote Muslim intelligentsia should come forward to provide solutions and alternatives. “If no steps are taken to remedy the situation, both by those who claim to be their well-wishers and those who exploit their isolation will succeed.”
Both the UPA and the NDA will have to change their attitude towards Muslims, who are looked upon as mere voters to be manipulated, he said. Siddiqui was the member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, from Uttar Pradesh. Currently, he is editor-in-chief of the Nai Duniya, an Urdu weekly published from Delhi.
He said that the Muslims for the past two or three decades have been searching for an alternative to the Congress, which, most of them hold, is responsible for their present terrible socio-economic condition. “Most of their leaders, the Muslim media and their Ulema criticise and denounce the Congress for four years and 364 days but on the day of the election they are told there is no alternative, vote the Congress to stop India from becoming a non-secular Hindu state,” he said.
Siddiqui also said that the Muslim voters were at the crossroads. “Like other voters in India they are disappointed with the performance of the UPA and want to vote it out of power,” he said, adding that they are again told ‘there is no alternative’ in a well-orchestrated atmosphere of hate and fear.
He also said that Aam Aadmi Party presents itself as a secular alternative to the Congress but it was too early to say whether it can emerge as a national alternative.