As 250 Islamic clerics from SAARC countries and the UK converged in Deoband for two days for a peace conference, it was as if a man called Narendra Modi isn’t angling for India’s PM post and riots hadn’t ripped through Muzaffarnagar, 30 km away, barely three months ago.
Participants at the conference organised by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind refused to be drawn into conversations about politics, the homosexuality debate or the riots. But privately, many JuH functionaries conceded that “Narendra Modi magic” seemed to be working at the national-level. “It may be difficult to stall the BJP unless there is a concerted effort to put together a third front. Some Muslims will vote for BJP but essentially Muslims will tend to veer towards local alternatives like Trinamool in West Bengal,” said a participant.
There was also a feeling that Delhi Muslims may have been spooked by Narendra Modi into voting for Congress but should a re-election happen, they would vote for the AAP.