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UP civic poll results: SP may be losing Muslim vote to BSP

A majority of the community, which has backed SP in most elections after the Babri Masjid demolition, appears to have voted for the BSP this time.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: December 4, 2017 5:47:55 am
UP Civic polls, babri masjid, BSP, Samajwadi Party, UP Civic polls results, UP Local body polls, UP Local elections, indian express news Muslim womens voter after voting. (Express photo by Anand Singh)

On his birthday on November 22, Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had said Muslims in Uttar Pradesh have always backed SP, but the party’s leaders were not putting in adequate efforts currently to secure their support. Eight days later, civic poll results in the state suggest his fears were not unwarranted. A majority of the community, which has backed SP in most elections after the Babri Masjid demolition, appears to have voted for the BSP this time. According to local leaders, the combination of Muslim-Dalit votes helped BSP win the two mayor seats of Aligarh and Meerut and its candidates performed better than than SP candidates on various other seats.

In Aligarh, SP candidate Mujahid Kidwai stood fourth with only 16,510 only votes, while BSP’s Mohd Furqan bagged 1.25 lakh votes to defeat BJP’s Rajeev Kumar who got 1.15 lakh votes. Local BJP leaders claimed that Muslims voted for BSP in the city, which has approximately 2.68 lakh Muslim voters and about 50,000 Dalit voters. “Muslims are always with the SP. But some faults in the numbering of candidates on EVM helped BSP. Also, of 50,000 Dalit votes, nearly 40000 went to BSP. These Dalit voters voted BJP in the Assembly polls,” said Kidwai.

A BJP leader in Aligarh said, “In past elections, less number of Hindu candidates compared to Muslim candidates led to a division of Muslim votes. But this time, only two Muslim candidates contested and a majority of Muslim voters found the BSP nominee stronger than that of SP and they voted BSP to defeat BJP.” The BJP leader added that Dalit voters backed the BJP in the past when BSP did not contest on party symbol. “This time, BSP contested on symbol and Dalits voted them. BJP too got Dalit votes, but less as compared to BSP,” he said.

In Muslim-dominated Meerut, BSP’s Sunita Verma bagged 2.34 lakh votes and defeated state BJP vice-president Kanta Kardam who got 2.05 lakh votes. SP’s Deepu Manothia got only 47,153 votes and finished third. There are around 2.4 lakh Muslim voters and 1.25 lakh Dalit voters in Meerut municipal corporation area. “Barely 2000 Muslims voted SP. Most of them voted BSP. Senior SP leaders are responsible for this situation. The previous SP government had several Muslim ministers from Meerut, but they did nothing for the community,” said Vipin Kumar Manothia, husband of the SP candidate.

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BJP’s Kanta Kardam said, “Ansaris used to be traditional SP voters, they voted for BSP this time.” Other BJP leaders claimed that the Muslim-Dalit combination helped BSP win. BJP won the municipal election in Agra and BSP nominee Digambar Singh finished second with 1.43 lakh votes. SP’s Rahul Chaturvedi was third with 49,788 votes. There are around 1.20 lakh Muslim votes and around 2.25 lakh Dalit votes in the area. “I had been banking on Yadav-Muslim-Brahmin equation. But Independent Muslim candidate Chaudhary Bashir got 35,243 votes. Around 25 per cent Muslims voted BSP, while only 10 per cent voted SP. Dalits voted for BSP in large numbers,” said Chaturvedi.

Firozabad is considered to be an SP stronghold where party national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav’s son Akshay Yadav won during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. But the mayoral election saw BJP’s Nutan Rathore win with 98,932 votes. SP nominee Savitri Gupta got 45,925 votes and finished third and AIMIM’s Mashroor Fatima surprised everyone by bagging the second place with 56,536 votes. “We lost because of manipulation of the EVMs. BJP got votes diverted to AIMIM to set a Hindu vs Muslim tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. My daughter Priyanka contested as an Independent dummy candidate and she too got 4753 votes,” said Raj Narayan Gupta, husband of the SP candidate.

In Saharanpur, where the total number of voters in Nagar Nigam elections are 5.34 lakh and 2.30 lakh of them are Muslims, SP candidate Sajid stood fourth with 10,701 votes. BSP’s Fazalur Rehman stood second by securing 1.19 lakh votes and BJP candidate Sanjeev Walia won with 1.21 lakh votes. “Muslims shifted to BSP because local SP leaders did not cooperate. They either became neutral or supported the BSP candidate. I will lodge a complaint with the party president,” said Sajid.

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