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regular-article-logo Friday, 21 June 2024

'Mandir-masjid' non-issue, muslim voters in Ayodhya focus on jobs and development as key election issues

The BJP has done good work in Ayodhya and hence it should get the due credit: Iqbal Ansari

PTI Ayodhya Published 19.05.24, 07:04 PM
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As Ayodhya gears up to vote for the first time after the Ram temple consecration, Muslim voters in the pilgrim town say "mandir-masjid" (temple-mosque) is not an issue for them and employment and development are their primary concerns.

Some, including Iqbal Ansari, who was a litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, give the BJP "due credit" for the development of Ayodhya while others feel much needs to be done to ensure that the gains percolate to all parts of the temple town.

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"When elections come, political leaders start remembering God, irrespective of their party. But people want health and education facilities and security," Ansari told PTI.

"The BJP has done good work in Ayodhya and hence it should get the due credit. The BJP has an edge here. Though I do not have much interest in elections, I will definitely cast my vote on polling day," he said.

Ansari said workers of political parties have been coming to his house to seek his vote and the BJP was the first to approach him.

Ansari had earlier said that the BJP brought an end to the Ram temple issue.

The 55-year-old found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech at a poll rally in Haryana's Gohana on Saturday.

Hitting out at the Congress for giving the January 22 Ram temple consecration ceremony a miss, Modi had said, "They have so much hatred towards Lord Ram that they rejected the invitation (for consecration ceremony)." Whereas Ansari, who fought against the Ram Mandir in court, attended the ceremony, the prime minister had said.

Ashfaq Hussain, a builder and government contractor associated with the BJP, asserted that Muslim women are with the party.

"The (Muslim) women have given a thumbs up (to the BJP) on the issue of triple talaq. Their response towards the BJP has been positive vis-a-vis triple talaq and the law and order situation in the state. A significant number of Muslims have got houses under the PM Awas Yojana in the Rudauli assembly segment of the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat." Bablu Khan, a local resident, feels that the "stream of development is flowing in Ayodhya".

The people of Ayodhya are satisfied and sitting Faizabad BJP MP Lallu Singh will return for a third term.

Not everyone agrees.

Mohammad Aamir, 25, said people are not interested in "mandir-masjid" and want jobs.

"We want jobs. The issue of 'mandir-masjid' will not run households. I am not saying this because I am a Muslim, I am saying this as a jobless person. 'Mandir-masjid' should not be an (election) issue," he said.

He added that he will vote for a party that gives priority to public interest.

Fareed Salmani, the lone Muslim candidate in the poll fray in Ayodhya, said the lives of people living in areas on the outskirts of the constituency remain untouched by development.

"Things in the outer areas of the constituency, especially villages, have remained more or less unchanged since my childhood. MPs and MLAs from almost every caste were elected but development is yet to reach many areas," the Independent candidate told PTI.

The Faizabad Lok Sabha constituency comprises five assembly seats -- Dariyabad, Rudauli, Milkipur (SC), Bikapur and Ayodhya.

Of these, Dariyabad is located in neighbouring Barabanki district and the remaining four assembly segments are in Ayodhya district.

There are 19,27,459 eligible voters in the Faizabad constituency.

Thirteen candidates are in the fray, including BJP's Singh and Samajwadi Party's sitting Milkipur MLA Awadhesh Prasad.

Polling for the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat will be held in the fifth round of the seven-phase elections on May 20.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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