ALIGARH: Even while Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati is seeking consolidation of Muslim votes in favour of her party, the minority community appears divided in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh indicating that the voting pattern of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections may return to haunt the anti-BJP political outfits.
With the UP polls setting a stage for multi-cornered contests, the minority community seems to be searching for party candidates who can defeat the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), while they stress that the BSP chief’s political track record makes her “unreliable”. This despite a section within the community debating to change their preference for the Samajwadi Party.
“It’s true that the Muslims in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections could not make the judgment to strategically vote in favour of one anti-BJP political outfit. There is a sense of deep regret within the Muslim community that not a single person from the community could win the Lok Sabha elections from UP. But situations have not changed much in the face of a multi-cornered contest in the state. The Muslims continue to search for a candidate who can stop the BJP in an Assembly constituency,” said Mohammed Zameel, a trader in Aligarh.
While the BSP supremo has fielded 100 candidates in the 403 strong UP Assembly elections with an explicit objective to anchor her social engineering with the minority community along with Dalits as the core support group, she does not appear to be winning the battle for the vote bank politics. “Mayawati has done her most of politics in alliance with the BJP. The BSP founder Kansi Ram favoured the construction of a toilet complex at the site of the demolished Babri mosque. How can the Muslims be confident that she would not strike an alliance with the BJP in future,” said Syed Shehzad Hussain of Kabir Colony in Agra.
However, a few Muslims speak in favour of the BSP supremo. “The law and order situations in her rule had been very good, besides her government keeps a tight leash on price rise. In the Samajwadi Party (SP) government, the police have harassed us a lot,” said Shanu Rehman in Aligarh.
With even Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidates giving tough contests to the BJP in a few of the constituencies in the first phase of the elections for 72 seats, the Muslims appear backing even them in their quest to see a BJP loss in the state. “There are half a dozen seats in Mathura, Agra and Aligarh where the RLD candidates are in a better position to defeat the BJP. The Muslims are firming up their views that the community should back them,” said Mohammed Nadeem in Mathura.
However, the minority community appears to look at the SP-Congress alliance with hope in the elections. “There has been no government which did as many developmental works the way Akhilesh Yadav has in the last five years,” said Sayed Kaleem in Agra.