Arif Jabbar, Street Vendor, Morena, Madhya Pradesh
I know very little about politics and political agendas of our leaders. But what I have been watching on TV channels and heard from people around me, there is little doubt that poor Muslims are living under a shadow of fear ever since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. Many Hindu brothers see Modi as their hero. Modiji is a hard-working man but does he realise that his supporters are a violent lot. And his coming to power has given them a licence to target Muslims.
I will give you a recent example. There was an election rally of (former) chief minister Shivraj Singh two months back in Morena. Young men came roaring on bikes, raised slogans of Modi jindabad and created an atmosphere of fear among us street vendors. This happens each time there is a BJP-VHP function. Police also becomes helpless when these men come in large groups, with BJP flags on their bikes, and cause trouble.
All kind of men come to my stall for snacks. Many of them are passionate about Modi’s leadership. They just cannot listen anything against him. This kind of unconditional passion can easily turn into fanatical behaviour. Is Modiji not aware of this, I doubt.
Now that elections are approaching, I worry if political groups will stir up communal sentiments once again. I have two sons and a daughter. I want them to study and get a good position in society. This is what every father of any faith would want – a peaceful and respectful life for his children. But every time I see media reports of lynching and violence over cow slaughter, I fear for the safety of my own family. Modiji is the topmost leader of the country, shouldn’t he spare a thought about our fears and concerns?
Rahulji abhi young hain (Rahul Gandhi is still young). He carries no malice but he will take more time to challenge Modi in terms of vote catching. Politics is full of shrewd and cunning people. If you want to survive in this field, Rahulji will have to learn their tricks.
Last time I went to vote, they said my name was not on the rolls. I showed them my election card, they said the ward does not carry my name. My entire family’s name wasn’t there. I returned without casting my vote. We are poor people, we are not like service people who get an off from work on polling day. We have to make preparations for the evening for our daily bread. We cannot spend long hours for inclusion of our names on the rolls. Mostly, this work is done by political volunteers. Hopefully, I will be able to cast my vote this time.
Part of my family lives in Itawah, Uttar Pradesh. They are traditional supporters of Samajwadi Party. But here, they have no presence. So the choice falls back on the Congress. I pray for the well-being of my country and for this I do not think that the BJP is the right choice to be elected to power.