Only 10 Muslims figure in the list of 67 Lok Sabha candidates announced so far by the BSP and SP which together will contest 75 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Of the 80 seats in UP, the alliance has left three for the RLD and decided not to put up candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli from where Rahul Gandhi and Sonia are seeking re-election.
In the earlier Lok Sabha elections, when they contested on their own, the BSP had given tickets to 19 Muslims in 2014, 14 in 2009 and 20 in 2004. The SP had fielded 14 Muslim candidates in 2014, 11 in 2009 and 12 in 2004.
While the BSP has released names for all 38 seats under its share this election, the SP has announced candidates for 29 of the 37 seats in its quota. On these 67 seats, 10 candidates are Muslims — six of BSP and four of SP.
BSP has fielded Muslim candidates in Domariyaganj, Ghazipur, Dhaurahra, Saharanpur, Amroha and Meerut while the SP has given tickets to Muslims in Moradabad, Rampur, Kairana and Sambhal. The SP is still to declare its candidates for Phulpur, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Maharajganj, Ballia, Chandauli, Varanasi and Lucknow.
If the constituencies of 17 reserved seats are included, the SP-BSP coalition has given tickets to 37 candidates who represent their core support base of Dalits, Yadav and Muslims. In its quota of 38 seats, the BSP has fielded nine non-Yadav OBCs and two Yadav. The SP has given ticket to seven non-Yadav OBCs and eight Yadav. On the remaining unreserved seats, both parties have fielded upper caste candidates including Brahmins, Thakurs and Bhumihars.
BSP, SP counting on political realignment
BJP’s sweep of UP in 2014 wiped out Muslim representation in Lok Sabha from the state where the community accounts for about 20 per cent of the population. While the BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate, not one of the 33 Muslims fielded by the SP and BSP could get elected. In 2019, the political realignment means fewer minority candidates from the alliance, but with improved electoral prospects.
In the list of 77 candidates released so far, the BJP has fielded only one Yadav candidate — Dinesh Lal Yadav (Bhojpuri actor and singer) — who has been fielded against SP president Akhilesh Yadav in Azamgarh. The BJP has given tickets to 26 non-Yadav OBCs, more than the SP-BSP total. BJP ally Apna Dal (S) patron Anupriya Patel, who belongs to the OBC Kurmi caste, is contesting from Mirzapur. The BJP has also left another seat, Robertsganj (SC), for Apna Dal (S) and is yet to announce candidate for the OBC-dominated Ghosi constituency.