“The Muslim voters in the Dargah region are 35,000 and towns like Sarwar, Nasirabad, Khanpura, Salemabad and Roopangargh are densely populated with Muslims,” professor Manan Rahi, a leader of Muslim community, told the Times of India on Wednesday, November 20.
With more than 465,000 voters out of the 16 lakh population of the eight constituencies, Muslims have been the cornerstone of the Indian elections.
In the last assembly elections, there was a 10 to 12 % overall swing towards BJP from this community.
From Ajmer North, 5.5 % Muslims voted for the BJP candidate.
Preparing for the upcoming assembly elections, Muslims feel dissatisfied by both Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and National Congress party (NCP) polices.
Over the past weeks, the provinces of Taragarh, Dargah, Khanpura and Sarwar, which are heavily populated with Muslims, have been witnessing regular meetings ahead of assembly elections.
Adding to their confusion, a big part of the Muslim community feels jammed as they fear BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and on other hand is disappointed with Congress.
Modi, the 14th and current Chief Minister of Gujarat, is the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance for the upcoming 2014 Indian general elections.
“Now the major problem is that Muslim voters are coming and asking that if they vote for their BJP candidate, it may bring Narendra Modi to power,” professor Rahi said.
“We are not against BJP but have decided to vote against Modi.”
Relations between Muslims and the BJP have been strained since the 2002 massacre of Muslims in the state.
More than 2,000 Muslims were hacked and burnt to death in Gujarat in 2002 by Hindu mobs after Hindu pilgrims died in a train fire first blamed on Muslims but which a later inquiry concluded was accidental.
Several investigations at the state and federal levels accused police of failing to protect Muslims under orders from Modi and his aides, fanning one of the worst instances of sectarian violence in India.
In August, an Indian court sentenced a former Indian state minister from the BJP to 28 years in jail party.
With most voters disappointed with BJP, the congress too has lost its glow in the city after failing to bring long awaited piece.
“Congress failed to bring peace to this town,” Mohammad Anis of Sarwar said.
“People are angry that neither senior Congress leader nor any minister of the government came to help at the time of riots,” he added.
In its bid to replace BJP, the congress is luring Muslim voters in Pushkar, who count for 32 percent of votes, by nominating a Muslim candidate Naseem Akhtar.
In Ajmer North, about 35,000 Muslim voters are against BJP after the party failed to achieve any development in the region.
“Thousands of devotees come daily to this place but the BJP did not attempt to take any measures for the development of the region,” said Mahmood Khan, leader of dargah bazaar.
“There was a budget of Rs 300 crore but it lapsed.”
High turnout in Dargah would be in favor of the congress “If a good number of people from these areas vote then most certainly that will indicate a loss to BJP but if they do not come out to vote, it will not be good for Congress,” Khan said.
There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India and they have long complained of being discriminated against in all walks of life.
Muslims complain of decades of social and economic neglect and oppression.
Official figures reveal Muslims log lower educational levels and higher unemployment rates than the Hindu majority and other minorities like Christians and Sikhs.
They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India's 1.3 million-strong military.