The Muslim Voter Isn't Dumb

The curtains have fallen over the UP elections. We, the public, watched the episodes of the electoral soap opera that stretched on for over a month with much interest. But, thanks to our ridiculously short memories, we seem to have forgotten another hyped drama that preceded the campaign.

It had unfolded far away from UP, in Jaipur, but had a "lot to do with the UP elections". Or so, television anchors and political analysts wanted us to believe. Let's not blame them. They were only drawing their inferences from the stance of the Congress-led governments at the Centre and Rajasthan. I am talking about what happened long ago, in January, when the Congress conveniently and covertly gave in to the demands of certain Muslim groups to keep author Salman Rushdie from coming to India, in the hope that such a tactic would reap electoral gains in UP, where Muslims form 18 per cent of the population.

Rushdie didn't come, the authors protested and wrote opinion pieces for newspapers, TV anchors came down on hapless Congress spokespersons, common folk who may have never read a Rushdie lamented "the crushing of creative freedom" on Twitter, and so on. But as the UP elections drew nearer, the issue died its own silent death.

But Congress' hopes of drawing Muslim votes were still alive and kicking. Nothing wrong with that. Except that its hopes stood on the premise that the UP Muslim is dumb. That she'd care enough for an ageing author and his ancient tome. That her anti-Americanism, and anti-Isrealism, which is part of her DNA, will come to the fore when Rahul Gandhi asks her to choose between Bundelkhand and Israel, as according to the perpetually angry Congress scion, the BJP was planning to bring irrigation technology imported from Israel.

... contd.

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