Patna: On a soporific afternoon, Munawwar Ali has nothing much to do at the bakery-cum-ration store he runs in the Razabazar area of
He spents most of his time taking naps. Occasionally, he is interrupted by some
customers. This is the same area in which Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from
Patna Sahib, Parveen Amanullah, is contesting against Shatrughan Sinha from BJP
and Gopal Prasad Sinha from JD(U). Patna
A party, which is struggling to find a foothold in a caste-ridden state such as
is perceived sometimes with cynicism, sometimes with skepticism and sometimes
with hope. In the state, where the minority communities will only prefer voting
for a candidate, who will stand up to the BJP, AAP has somewhat succeeded in
uniting the people from across castes on the issues of anti-corruption, Swaraj,
and transparency. This number, however, is miniscule and will not have any
major electoral impact.
Some 50-60 people gathered at Razabar area during Amanullah's campaign near Munawwar Ali's shop. But he is not impressed. "Aam Aadmi Party does not have a presence here. We will vote for JD (U)," said Ali. Interestingly, Amanullah was a minister in the ruling JD (U) government. She resigned in February to join AAP.
A social worker based in the area told dna on condition of anonymity, "Muslims are very sentimental. She did not go to any Muslim homes when she was a minister in the Nitish Kumar government. The Muslim community will vote for the Congress or RJD or JD(U), wherever they find them strong enough to defeat the BJP."
This essentially means that despite CM Nitish Kumar's decision to call off the alliance with the BJP over Narendra Modi's PM candidature, the community will not lap him up and will remain divided. This is how AAP's reorientation of caste equations, even though in a small number, is getting support from the youth in the state. In the party's election office in
AAP supporter Prem Prakash told dna, "Whoever comes here, comes because he
has a grudge against the system and would like to better it. And people from
all backgrounds come here. The rich, the poor, the forward, the backwards. The
doors are open for all." Patna
Claiming that it is a misnomer spread by the other parties that the middle-class supporters, who voted for the party in
last year, have deserted the party, Amanullah told dna, "It is not true. People
from all backgrounds who believe in anti-corruption and Swaraj are coming here.
Even in New Delhi , the
middle-class voters are with the party and their support base is intact." Delhi
With the party's membership growing from the current 13 lakh, it is not for nothing that the party has fielded 28 candidates for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in
Amanullah, meanwhile, has been campaigning from dawn to the dusk to garner support for the party.
By: Ashutosh Kumar