Bengaluru’s minorities want low prices and equality

Bengaluru Governance Karnataka politics

Rue parties have divided Hindus and Muslims

People of minority communities in Bengaluru say they will vote for a party that will ensure equality and cost-effective living for all.

Iliyas Abdul, a bag-shop owner at Tasker Town, Shivaji Nagar, said: “I just want a good government that will cater to the poor. Look at how all Indira Canteens have been shut down, how many poor people deprived of jobs.”

Asked about reservations for Muslims, he said: “As they have removed the 4 per cent quota for Muslims, they should also remove it for all other minorities.” He will vote for the party that can really bring “achche din”.

Syed Parvesh, an autorickshaw driver, said: “The current government has created havoc in poor people’s lives especially with demonetisation and lockdowns. The prices of the cooking gas cylinder and all other essential commoditieshave increasedsignificantly.”

Fayaz Ahmed, a shopkeeper, is upset that the citizen’s life has become miserable due to GST and price hike. “Earlier, we used to get a gas cylinder for Rs 600; now it has risen to Rs 1,100. We used to get subsidies; now we don’t.”

Political parties divide people on the basis of religion. “Muslims and Hindus have coexisted peacefully, but political parties, especially the current government, have divided all,” he regretted.

Sangeeta,a Christian who works as an HR manager in an IT company, said: “We need a party that can establish equality in society. There should be a balance between the rich and the poor. But in reality the rich don’t pay taxes and the middle class has to bear the burden of taxes. The price of everything is increasing which only the rich can afford.I want the elimination of caste- and religion-based politics. I will vote for the one that caters to all sections of society.”

Johnson Thompson, who came to the Church of Christ in Shivaji Nagar,informed The Observerhe wisheseveryone would be treated equally.Whichever party comes to powershould try to bring equality.“Either there should be reservation for all sections or for no one, because a lot has changed insociety after independence.”

Transgenders’ take

Along with equality and low prices, transgenders say they need toilets and more representation in society.

Rishika Rio, a transperson said: “Indian society is still not accepting transpersons. There are so many problems that no party has addressed – like public toilets for transpersons, proper houses and equal opportunities. I will vote for a party that will provide all these facilities to the transgender community.”

Mallu S. Kumbar, state coordinator of the Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum,said: “The present government does not coordinate with transgender people. We tried meeting the CM twice but nothing happened. We want a separate board for transpersons. After so many agitations, the government has only given 1 per cent reservation that too without any proper guidelines.”

She will vote for a secular party that works for the education and employment of people from the transgender community.

Dr S.R.T.P. Sugunakaraju, professor of political science at Jamia Millia Islamia, said: “Different political parties have different electoral strategies. Ideally, in a democracy, political parties should cater to minorities as well, but it’s not the case in India.For instance, the BJP has not allotted any seat for Muslims and Christians. Their strategy is different.”

About the queer community he said, they are not a vote bank for any party yet, but in the future, they might become one.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case on same-sex marriages.Many BJP leaders have called such marriages unnatural.

Yukta Mudgal
Trainee Journalist at IIJNM.

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