Mulayam Singh Yadav may have backtracked from his statement about a possible tie-up with the Congress; the latter may have ruled out such a possibility. But for Muslim voters in and around Kanpur and Kanpur Dehat,officially called Ramabai Nagar,it is not just a possibility but a likelihood,and something they are hoping for. They are certain the denials by the leaders of the two parties are gimmicks.
The ball had been set rolling when Mulayam said he would go with the Congress if necessary to stop the BJP. He retracted quickly,and Rahul Gandhi asserted his party would not enter into any post-poll alliance,irrespective of the numbers.
The reason Muslim voters here are rooting for an alliance is that they see both parties as pro-Muslim. Says Shahabuddin,a carpenter in Akbarpur who has been voting for the SP,We will benefit with both parties in power. If they dont come together,it wont be a proper government.
SP supporters among Muslims believe the party will get good numbers but the Congress will help complete the majority. Even an SP worker says,Only these two parties can enter into an alliance.
As of now,both parties have been wooing the community. The Congress has promising reservation to backward Muslims within the OBC quota,while the SP has promised 18 per cent reservation. Both have brought up the plight of weavers,most of whom are Muslim.