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Muslim votes in UP to split to BJP’s advantage

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Lucknow, March 24 : History shows that a division in Muslium votes in Uttar Pradesh has invariably worked to the advantage of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the 2024 Lok Sabha polls are no different.

The only difference this time is that a sizeable section of Muslim votes is preparing to split in favour of BJP which is bound to be an added advantage for the party.

Muslims account for 19 per cent of Uttar Pradesh’s population and their voting behaviour is likely to define the outcome on around 24 Lok Sabha seats, having a 20-50 per cent Muslim population.

The Samajwadi Party-Congress seat-sharing deal for the Lok Sabha elections may have raised expectations in the alliance that it will consolidate the Muslim vote and fortify the INDIA bloc’s position in at least 24 Muslim-dominated constituencies out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

However, as elections draw near, the BSP and AIMIM are set to force a split in Muslim votes.

A popular saying in Uttar Pradesh goes thus: ‘Pehla bhai (read Muslim), Phir Sapai (SP) aur uske baad Congress-I.’

This explains the Muslim voting pattern in the state.

The BSP, in a shrewd move, has fielded five Muslim candidates out of seven unofficially announced so far.

They include Aqil Ahmed Patta from Kannauj, a seat considered a stronghold of SP. Patta had joined BSP a few months ago, after crossing over from SP.

The other Muslim candidates are Irfan Saifi from Moradabad, Anish Ahmed Khan aka Phool Babu from Pilibhit, Majid Ali from Saharanpur and Mujahid Hussain from Amroha. The party had won Amroha and Saharanpur parliamentary seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“There are many more Muslim candidates on the way but we need to wait for the list,” said a party insider.

The AIMIM is also preparing to field candidates in about two dozen seats having a sizeable Muslim population.

It is amply clear that more than winning the seats themselves, the AIMIM and BSP are keen to defeat the INDIA constituents (SP and Congress).

The leaders of both, BSP and AIMIM, are aware that a division in Muslim votes will give the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) an advantage.

However, there is also a perceptible change in the Muslim mood in Uttar Pradesh and the community is no longer as hostile towards the BJP as it used to be.

The ban on triple talaq and the benefits of welfare schemes initiated by the Modi and Yogi governments that have reached Muslim women, have led to a change in perception.

Afsha Zaidi, a home maker said, “In the past 10 years, the BJP has not harmed us in any way. In fact, we have benefitted under the Modi regime. I do not see anything wrong in voting for BJP — In fact, I will vote for Modi this time.”

BJP’s ‘Shukriya Modi Bhai Jaan’ that reached out to Muslim women, was also highly successful and elicited a good response.

If Muslims vote for large numbers in the UP Lok Sabha polls – as is expected — it could finally break the myth of Muslim voting pattern in the state

The Muslim-dominated Lok Sabha seats include Saharanpur (29.6 per cent), Muzaffarnagar (27 per cent), Bijnor (28 per cent), Nagina (28 per cent), Moradabad (28 per cent), Rampur (42 per cent), Sambhal (22 per cent), Amroha (32 per cent), Meerut (23 per cent), Sitapur (24 per cent), Kairana (23 per cent ), Bareilly (23 per cent), Pilibhit (19 per cent), Shahjahanpur (21 per cent), Bahraich (23 per cent), Shravasti (28 per cent), Dumariaganj (26 per cent) and Lucknow (23 per cent).

The list also includes Kanpur (19 per cent), Bulandshahr (19 per cent), Baghpat (18.8 per cent), Ghaziabad (16 per cent), Aligarh (19 per cent) and Azamgarh (16 per cent).(IANS)

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