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'Didn't Ask The Muslims To Forgive Modi Or To Vote For Him'

The former MP clarifies that the "strategy" behind his open letter was to caution Muslims "to rethink about Modi on the eve of the election, so that they could be weaned away by taking note that Modi has not fulfilled any real Muslim demands."

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'Didn't Ask The Muslims To Forgive Modi Or To Vote For Him'

26 November, 2012

Dear Friend & Respected Colleagues,
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatulah,

Your press statements objecting to my Personal Letter to CM Modi have come to my notice. First of all, I wish to clarify that this was a personal letter with a strategic purpose and had nothing to do with Joint Committee of Muslim Organisation for Empowerment ( JCMOE). However by mistake the office issued it on the pad of the JECMOE. Your objection is therefore legitimate and I beg your apology.

However, nowhere in this letter have I asked the Muslims to forgive Modi or to vote for him. However it is a fact that through various devises over the years Modi has been able to soften some Muslims of the upper classes. The strategy behind this letter was to caution them and to rethink about Modi on the eve of the election, so that they could be weaned away  by taking note that Modi has not fulfilled any real Muslim demands.

Apparently none of you have seen the Guidelines for the Muslim Electorate for Gujarat  Assembly Election 2012, issued by me as the Convener of the JCMOE which is almost word for word the same as the Guidelines issued by it in previous elections, the last being the recent election of UP. Its purpose is that Muslim representation in the legislatures should increase with secular capable and reliable persons, preferably Muslims. This purpose can be achieved only if the Muslim votes are not scattered and thus become ineffective, but are concentrated and cast unitedly in the favour of one selected secular candidate. As far as I know no member group has taken any objection to this approach.

The JCMOE has not become defunct and will continue to serve the community in future elections. This Guideline was prepared nearly two weeks earlier but its issue was delayed because the list of new constituencies of Gujarat and the detailed results of 2007 election were not available.

I hope that in all constituencies in Gujarat where Muslims constitute more than 20% of the electorate, the local Muslim community adopts the approach mentioned in the Guideline to select the most suitable secular candidate, preferably a Muslim, and vote unitedly for him. This candidate has to be selected by the local Constituency Consultation Committee, a representative body.

I request you to read the Guidelines carefully and let me know if you have any objection.

I apologise once again for my personal letter being issued on the letter-head of the JCMOE.

With fraternal regards,

Yours sincerely, 

(Syed Shahabuddin)
Convener, JCMOE
Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment
D-250, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar
New Delhi-110025 India 

Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, President,  All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat
Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, President, Jamiatul Ulama-i-Hind
Dr. Mohd. Manzoor Alam, General Secretary, AIMC, New Delhi
Mr. Tariq Anwar, MP, MOS, GOI, New Delhi
Janab Mohad. Ahmad, Secretary, JIH, New Delhi
Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani, Secretary, JUH (Mahmood Madani Group), New Delhi


16 November, 2012

Guidelines for the Muslim Electorate for Gujarat Assembly Elections, 2012

Since 1950, in all elections the Muslim community has always supported the formation of a secular, stable and strong government at the Centre and in the States, but right from 1947 persistently it has been underrepresented in the legislatures. 

Also the community has felt growingly disenchanted with the post-election performance of secular parties and their Muslim legislators. Today, therefore, the primary interest of the community is not only to raise its representation in the legislature with at least some vocal, fearless independent legislators so that its legitimate aspirations & interests are voiced and pursued systematically. 

Since 2004, the JCMOE has been formulating Guidelines for the Muslim Community for General and State Elections. Since 2009, it has suggested active participation of the Muslim electorate at the constituency level in selecting candidates and/or parties to support with primary objective of improving the quality and dependability of Muslim representation.

The JCMOE recalls with regret the oft-tested failure of the Muslim legislators to project the feelings and wishes of the community at the national or even state level. 

Due to their personal & political loyalty to the parties they belong to and in their faithful support to the their political line make them disinclined even to raise its legitimate expectation for equal participation in governance and sharing equal benefits of development at various levels. Indeed they remain silent even in situations of denial of equality and justice. 

The JCMOE has also concluded in the light of experience that because of diverse factors, effective unity of the Muslim political groups on the eve of the election is possible only if Muslim voters at the constituency level can be united in favour of a common candidate they know chosen through participation & consultation of all who matter.

 The JCMOE is convinced that both underrepresentation and its quality are relevant. The secular parties do not field proportionate number of acceptable Muslim candidates from winnable Muslim constituencies and also because participation of Muslim voters in the election is often less than average. Also, several secular parties contest against each other apart from Muslim candidates of mini parties, sometimes funded by vested interests, thus dividing the Muslim vote. 

In view of the above, the JCMOE had revised the Guidelines in depth on the eve of the UP Assembly Elections for 2012  particularly because UP is the major state going to polls, has the biggest Muslim population of all states with 18 % in the electorate, with decisive influence in more than a quarter of the 403 constituencies and it has at least 35 % Muslims in 46 constituencies.

The JCMOE appealed to the Muslim electorate to build on its electoral assets & take all possible steps. They did & we have seen the result.

General Guidelines for the Community  

  • To register all eligible voters and to vote massively, particularly, women & youth, to raise their turnout above the average & thus increase their effective political weight in every constituency.
  • To strive for Muslim unity at the constituency level, rising above party affiliations or religious or sectarian considerations & chose a winnable candidate by common agreement who is reliable, capable & vocal and reputed to have a secular background.
  • To vote unitedly for the agreed candidate, as the most acceptable candidate of the community.

Mechanism of Selection of Common Candidates at Constituency Level 

1. Muslim electorate faces no dilemma when there is only one secular candidate of a secular party pitted against one or more communal parties but when there are more than one secular parties in the constituency, it must carefully select one of them through wide consultations.

2. For this purpose, the local community should from a Constituency Consultation Committee (CCC) consisting of a representative cross section of distinguished local personalities who have knowledge, experience and political understanding but are not associated with any political party. This CCC should have ulema, academics, retired officials, former legislators, youth leaders & social activists and representatives of eminent Muslim organizations and institutions. The CCC formed by the consultation among community leaders should elect a Chairman.

3. The Committee should interview all important candidates or even arrange public debates among them and interaction with the Muslim voters in different parts of the Constituency.

4. The Committee should take the following point in consideration in evaluating the quality of the candidates 

  1. Whether the candidate and/or his party has generally supported Muslim causes in the past or supports their major aspirations like reservation in the current election and due share in benefit of development.
  2. Whether the candidate and/or his party has taken up situations of Muslim concern and distress in legislatures or with the party
  3. Whether their social base and general support makes them relatively more winnable
  4. Whether they are known and generally acceptable to the Muslim voters
  5. Whether they are also acceptable to the non-Muslim voters
  6. Whether the party has fielded adequate number of Muslim candidates in the state. The proportionate claim of Muslims is 20 out of 182 in Gujarat

Communication of Selection to Muslim Electorate

I. The CCC should request all Muslim organizations, institutions and influential citizens particularly academicians & journalists to actively support full reservation as the first political objective. The CCC should issue written appeal to the electors to emphasize Reservation as the master key to Social Justice, Democratic Governance, Inclusive Development and Empowerment and to work for the success of the common candidate by all means at their disposal.

II. The CCC should request the Imams of local masjids & heads of local madarsas and other educational institutions to support the common acceptable candidate.

III. The CCC should brief mass media on the procedure followed in selecting the common agreed candidate and reason for selection. 

IV. The CCC should advise candidates to use all modern media for publicity like phone calls, e-mail, social network site like facebook etc and motivate the voters during the campaign and on the polling date.

Advice to Muslim Voters in Various Constituencies

A. In seats with less than 20 % Muslim electorate, the Muslims should vote for the most winnable candidates of a secular party.

B. In  constituencies with 20-30 % Muslim votes, it should vote for most winnable candidate of a secular party but preferably a Muslim.

C. In high concentration or Muslim majority seats, it should vote for the most winnable Muslim candidate who may be independent, and belongs to most numerous Muslim baradari in the constituency.


The JCMOE expects that these Guidelines will serve the purpose of uniting the Muslim voters at the Constituency level, ensure massive turnout & united voting for a common candidates and electing a more dependable representative in the UP Assembly and request Muslim organization and institution and known political activists to take the initiative immediately to form the Constituency Consultation Committees. 

Syed Shahabuddin
Convener, JCMOE

New Delhi
16 November, 2012

All Member organizations of the JCMOE
All Leading Muslim Institutions at state, District & Constituency body

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