‘Ye Sarkaar Topi walon ke khilaf hai’, says Lucknow’s Muslims

Maruf, a Lucknow resident of 40 years, expresses concern over the escalating tensions between the communities, “The government is running an agenda. I’ve been in Lucknow for 40 years.”

| Updated: 19 May, 2024 8:00 pm IST
Locals speaking to The New Indian in Lucknow.

LUCKNOW: Tall historic Lucknow’s Imambara sees a daily crowd of locals and tourists. The political roar can be heard from Bara Imambara to Chota Imambara, or at the Rumi Gate in between. Jalees Malik, a 38-year-old man, cites unemployment as the prevailing issue and accuses the BJP of playing religious politics as he left the Imambara after Friday Namaz on Jumma afternoon.

“Unemployment is the biggest issue in the country right now. But everyone is involved in religious issues. Youth are troubled; discussions should focus on farmers,” said Jalees.

As Lucknow gears up for the polls in the 5th phase of the election on May 20, the Muslim population in Old Lucknow appears very angry with the BJP-led central government, accusing them of playing religious and divisive politics.

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The New Indian team spoke to the crowd on the lanes of Bada Imambara to Chota Imambara to gauge the sentiments of voters in the highly anticipated election for the Saffron Party and the opposition’s Unity. Most show resentment against the NDA-led central government.

Another man said, “We don’t need BJP leaders; they don’t have manners to speak. They are all illiterate and do religious politics. They have only two agendas: Hindu and Muslim. Congress has done so much development in this country, whether it be Lucknow Hospital or Delhi AIIMS hospital.”

Mohammad Maruf, aged 65, while ordering his roll from Tunday Kababi said, “No one is working for our welfare. Ye sarkar Topi walon ke khilaf hai – This government is against those who wear skull caps ( most Muslim men prominently wear skull caps as an important part of their traditional attire). Every action seems to be against Muslims. But they will win because of the circumstances. BJP is playing religious politics.”

Maruf, a Lucknow resident of 40 years, expresses concern over the escalating tensions between the communities, “The government is running an agenda. I’ve been in Lucknow for 40 years.”

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Another old woman, standing adjacent to Maruf, couldn’t keep silent. A yellow-white kurta-clad Muslim woman called PM Narendra Modi a liar regarding his recent interview where he said he had never engaged in Hindu-Muslim politics as it’s against his nature. She said, “The environment is hostile towards Muslims. Modi is a liar; his lies are well-known.”

However, for some, unemployment remains the most volatile issue of this election, and they have a sense of belief in Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, “I will vote based on development. There is no employment. I tried to get a job in my village. I can’t predict who will win. I will vote for whoever promises progress. In terms of education, Uttar Pradesh is far behind. Rahul is in the game. Rahul Gandhi should be given a chance,” said Dr. Emaam.

Lucknow has been a BJP stronghold, once dominated by the formidable former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee since 1991, with neither the Samajwadi Party (SP) nor the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ever winning the seat. This election, Ravidas Mehrotra, the candidate from the India Alliance, is challenging Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Mehrotra previously defeated a BJP candidate in the 2022 assembly elections. The question now is whether he can replicate his success against Rajnath Singh.



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