The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Thursday released its first list of 100 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. The list includes 34 Muslims.
Muslims account for nearly 20 per cent of the state’s electorate and perhaps keeping this in mind, members of that community have been given tickets in 36 of the 100 seats spread over 20 districts declared by her on Thursday.
Earlier, BSP supremo Mayawati had said that her party would not enter into any alliance and contest the polls on its own. Earlier on Tuesday, she announced that her party would field 97 Muslims along with 113 candidates from upper castes, 106 candidates from backward castes and 87 Dalits in the upcoming elections.
Important to note is that the Western Uttar Pradesh turned into the hotbed of communal politics in 2014, due to the Muzaffarnagar riots. BSP and Samajwadi Party would be competing for the share of Muslim electorate in the region. On the other hand, pollsters opine that BJP would eye the consolidation of Hindu votes in their favour.
The BSP list includes Nawab Qazim Ali Khan from Rampur, Ali Yusuf Ali from Chamaruwa, Mohammad Islam Khan from Gunnaur and Syyeda Begum from Budhana in Muzaffarnagar.
Other prominent leaders fielded by BSP supremo Mayawati include Mukesh Dixit from Saharanpur City, Majid Ali (Deoband), Diwakar Deshwal (Kairana), Satyendra Solanki (Meerut Cantonment) and Pankaj Jolly (Meerut City).
Old timers like Dharampal Singh from Etmadpur has been fielded again. Raj Bala has been given ticket from Chaprauli in Baghpat, Hazi Zakir Ali from Loni in Ghaziabad, Amarpal Sharma from Sahibabad and Suresh Bansal from Ghaziabad.
Alleging that minorities were facing bias under Modi government, Mayawati had cautioned Muslims that voting for Samajwadi Party or Congress will only help BJP and sought their support “to stop” the saffron party.
Muslims should not waste their vote as there is infighting in Samajwadi Party, and Congress lacks a voter base in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati has said.
Divided Muslim votes translate to gains for BJP, while a consolidation will change the poll arithmetic as minorities play a crucial role in at least 125 of 403 constituencies.
Muslims are considered the traditional votebank of the ruling Samajwadi Party and the concern over SP family feud has been voiced by several top clerics including, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid and Maulana Salman Nadvi of Lucknow-based Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulema.