Saturday, May 23, 2009
Election Campaign 2009: How to woo Indian Muslims to vote for you
Last week, the Lok Sabha elections of 2009 to select India's central
government finally come to an end, and results were out. Some analysts have pointed out that the Muslims of north India were one of the important deciding factors for the success or defeat of the different parties. If one observed the Urdu newspapers in north India, one could easily see how different parties and candidates tried to attract the attention Muslim voters by engaging them on a number of issues from development and employment to terrorism and communalism.
While Congress and its allies have emerged once again to form the government, one can see how they and the other parties didn't leave any stone unturned to present a favourable image of themselves, while painting their opponents as the worst enemies of the Muslims.
Interestingly, many of these advertisements have bylines not of the main parties they represent. Rather, these have been issued by hitherto unknown organizations and NGOs of local Muslims, and in some cases, religious clergy or even the keepers of local Sufi shrines, who have a great following among the Muslims. While this is not the first time that Muslim religious leaders have participated in the campaign for political parties, but they have certainly come out more openly
this time, often using the iconography of their religious authority.
We present a few examples of such campaign advertisements from some newspapers published in Delhi in the last few weeks:
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