Alliance edge in Ranchi's Muslim pockets

Turnout in some areas with a significant Muslim population was low in the morning but voting picked up during the day

By Raj Kumar in Ranchi
  • Published 7.05.19, 12:38 AM
  • Updated 7.05.19, 12:38 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Queue for duty: Voters flash their identity cards outside a polling booth at Seth Sitaram School in Doranda, Ranchi, on Monday. Picture by Prashant Mitra

Muslims in the capital, unhappy at being used as a vote bank this Lok Sabha polls when no grand alliance party gave a ticket to any Muslim politician, voted on Monday in middling to fair numbers, apparently in favour of Congress candidate Subodh Kant Sahay.

Though turnout in Hindpiri, Karbala Chowk, Gudri Chowk and Purani Ranchi, some areas with a significant Muslim population under Ranchi Parliamentary seat, was low in the morning, voting picked up later in the day, community elders said. EVMs malfunctioned at a couple of booths for periods between 30 minutes and 90 minutes, this reporter found out.

Most Muslims voted for the success of the grand alliance, social worker and convener of Lahu Bolega Nadeem Khan told this paper. “People (of the community) had no option.

Agreed president of All Muslim Youth Association, S. Ali, who had earlier organised several events protesting against the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) for allegedly neglecting Muslim candidates. “True, who else?”

Ali, present at Purani Ranchi, a Muslim pocket of the capital, on Monday, said, “Out of 600 voters, around 180 have voted till noon at Crown Public School (polling station) though voting was disrupted between 7.30am and 9am over malfunctioning EVMs. Muslim have voted with enthusiasm in favour of the grand alliance.”

A voter, Shakil Ansari of Hindpiri, said, when he heard that till 10am only 13 per cent people had polled at his polling booth (No. 199), he rushed to the booth to cast his vote. Asked who he voted for, he said sternly, “Reporters are not supposed to interview anyone within the 100m periphery of the polling booth.”

Shoeb Ahmed, chairman of social organisation Pathan Tanzeem, who voted at Ryan Urdu School booth in Hindpiri, said it had two polling booths with around 2,000 voters, mostly Muslim. “Till 2pm, more than 55 per cent voters exercised their franchise,” Ahmed claimed.

At Karbala Chowk’s Azad High School, with four polling booths, polling was picking up around 11am when this reporter went there. “At booth 225 (of the school) 208 of 703 voters have voted, at booth 226, 85 of 578 voters have. At booth 224, 345 of 976 voters have voted, while at booth 223, 178 of 753 voters have,” an official on poll duty said.

At the Imarat Shariah building which had three booths (233, 234, 235) near Gudri Chowk, around 11.30am, a crowd was gathering slowly. A micro observer deputed there said by 11am, 220 of 652 voters at booth 233, 186 of 652 voters at booth 234 and 169 of 601 voters at booth 235 cast their franchise. “Voting was disrupted from 9.30am to 10am,” the observer, who did not want to be quoted, said, citing EVM malfunctions.