Analysis: Manifestoes lack a road map catering to dreams of Muslims

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Mohamed Inam, Ideator at the Dialogue4Change speaking on the topic of Comparative Analysis of Political Parties' Manifestoes and Muslims at the headquarters of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind here on May 18, 2024.

India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—A comparative analysis of political parties’ election manifestos for Lok Sabha Elections-2024 suggests that there is a lack of a clear vision and road map that specifically caters to the hopes and dreams of the Muslim community.

This analysis -Political Parties’ Manifestoes for Lok Sabha Elections 2024 and Indian Muslims – has been done by Mohamed Inam, Ideator at Dialogue4Change. Mohamed Inam delves into the political situation of Indian Muslims and discusses what lies ahead for them. Mr Inam spoke on the subject at the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind headquarters here on May 18.

He ideates that the biggest problem of Muslim politics in India is a lack of clear political vision while “sectarian forces want to make Muslims isolated”.

He suggests that there is a need to try to keep Muslims in the mainstream with full force.

He is of the view that the Muslim community has been subject to systematic discrimination, economic deprivation, and exclusion, reclining them to the mean shades of grey for far too long.

He adds that the manifestos are a litmus test of the political parties’ commitment to inclusivity and social justice.

This analysis by Mohamed Inam claims that the Muslim community is firmly established across 720 assembly constituencies and 150-plus Lok Sabha segments in over 125 districts of the country.

But the stark reality is that despite their significant presence, “Muslims in India have never enjoyed the fruits of democracy in proportion to their share of the population (in terms of their democratic representation, share in government employment and inclusion in decision-making processes) like other religious groups.”

The paper says that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remains silent on the issues facing minorities. “It seems to assume that the broader vision of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ will automatically address the welfare and development of Muslims. However, the absence of specific initiatives for minorities does not sit well with them.”

Mohamed Inam discusses the manifestos of the parties that claim to believe in secularism but they “don’t quite provide a complete vision for truly inclusive development.” He says that even secular parties sometimes hesitate to support Muslims openly, fearing backlash. “This makes Muslims feel even more excluded from mainstream politics.”

He makes a list of what is missing in the manifestos for the Muslim community. He says that while the manifestos touch upon general socio-economic issues, they don’t offer concrete plans on how to achieve holistic development for Muslims.

According to this paper, long-term plans are absent in the manifestos, which are crucial for the sustainable development of the Muslim community. It points out the lack of specific time frames in manifestoes. It says, “Without deadlines and milestones, it’s hard to measure progress and hold the leaders accountable.”

Mohamed Inam says, “Affirmative action is vital to address the socio-economic disparities faced by Muslims. Unfortunately, the manifestoes don’t include robust plans in this regard.”

He suggests that there is a need for affirmative action to level the playing field in education, employment, and other areas.

Mr Inam says that political participation and engagement are essential for the Muslim community’s representation and their inclusion in decision-making processes.

“However, the manifestoes fail to address how they will increase the Muslim community’s representation in political and administrative roles,” observes Inam.

The paper says that many Muslim-majority areas suffer from neglect and they lack basic amenities and infrastructure but “the manifestoes don’t address these injustices, leaving these communities behind.”

According to it, there is a need for “targeted interventions and investments to ensure equitable development in these areas”, improving the quality of life and growth opportunities.

The paper discusses the invisibilisation of Muslims from the political process. It says that Muslims are being left out of political initiatives and electoral campaigns. “This means their voices aren’t heard and their issues aren’t addressed in the democratic process.”

The paper says that Muslim caste identity is being used for political gain. “Instead of bringing Muslims together, it divides them and makes it harder for them to work towards common goals.”

It points out that the Muslim community realizes they are taken for granted by the politicians and their needs are ignored for short-term political gains.

Mohamed Inam says that it is troubling to see politicians using anti-Muslim rhetoric which only increases discrimination against Muslims and makes them feel more vulnerable.

He suggests empowering the Indian Muslims as “it isn’t just the right thing to do morally; it’s also crucial for the country’s economy.”

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