With Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party showing no signs of losing momentum after India’s elections, Muslims appear to be losing faith in the Congress Party and are turning to the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), a sectarian party. The New York Times:
The Bharatiya Janata Party, also known as B.J.P., leadership’s penchant for making provocative remarks and stoking communal tensions, combined with the trend away from Congress is leaving Indian politics more polarized on sectarian lines, as the election results in Maharashtra illustrated. The B.J.P. won overall, but M.I.M., making its first foray into the state with a field of mostly novice candidates, won two seats, including Byculla, whose population is 40 percent Muslim.
Waris Pathan, a criminal defense lawyer who grew up in the neighborhood, decided to join the party and be its candidate the day before the deadline for nominations. Despite his inexperience, after just 12 days of campaigning he managed to beat the Congress incumbent, Madhu Chavan, in a close race.
“The so-called secular parties took the votes of Muslim people, but they never did anything for their betterment,” Mr. Pathan said in an interview in his South Mumbai office. “We want to be their voice in the assembly.”
This is a very ominous development if it holds up. India needs non-communal parties. Otherwise, life could get very tense indeed in this massive, multifaceted democracy.