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Friday, March 06, 2009

Lok Sabha elections 2009: Will UP Muslims vote for SP?

Elections are just round the corner and Uttar Pradesh, with 80 constituencies hold the key to the Centre.

Neither the Congress nor the BJP appear getting more than 150 seats in the current scenario. With Left no longer keen to support Congress, there is an uncertainty as to which alliance will form the government.

The regional parties are flexing muscles due to this crisis. From Sharad Pawar to Chandrababu Nayudu and Lalu Yadav, every self-styled satrap is dreaming of becoming the Prime Minister, just like HD Devegowda and IK Gujaral had managed to do, with outside support.

It is this reason that UP has again become crucial state in this election. Last election despite SP and BSP getting chunk of seats, they couldn't wield proportionate influence at the Centre.

But with Communist parties upset with Congress, UP has become a vital state. This is the reason that SP has tied with Kalyan Singh despite criticism and fear of vote loss. And BJP is fielding all its old warhorses.

Will Muslims vote for Samajwadi Party?

In over half-a-dozen Assembly and Parliamentary elections since early 90s, every time there is the speculation that Muslims will leave Mulayam Singh. But psephologists have been proved wrong.

The reason is that while Congress remains an almost non-player, Muslims aren't exactly sure about BSP. Mayawati does speak out Muslims a couple of times every year, she is not too concerned about them.

I personally also feel that she is not aware about sentiments of Muslims as hers is a party that in its banners and posters never gave any importance to Muslim heroes--be in the field of nation building, literature or social welfare. Not even for the sake of inclusion can you see a banner or poster recognising Muslim presence at the BSP's conferences and functions.

She doesn't seem to have any plan about welfare of the community. Ever since she cosied up with the Upper Castes, Muslims seem to have been forgotten. However, there is the usual speculation whether Muslims will vote for SP?

Over 55% Muslims in UP have voted for Mulayam Singh in most elections. Though it's a substantial percent, the figure suggests that there is considerable vote going to BSP and other parties including BSP, Congress and Lok Dal with even a very marginal vote to BJP. So in that sense, it's not that all Muslims just go and push the button for bicycle.

Dalits are considered the biggest block in UP with 21% populace followed by Muslims (19%) and Yadavas (11%). Brahmins constitute nearly 7% of the voter while the rest of the Upper Caste are around 6%. Castes like Kurmis, Lodhs, Jats have areas of concentration spread across the state.

People just want peace

The results of the Bhadohi Assembly by-election that was declared just three days back, have again proved that Muslims haven't drifted. Else, the victory of SP wouldn't have been possible.

The BSP candidate was quite strong and there were several Muslim contestants in the fray but the SP candidate won though he isn't a Muslim. Every party had made it a prestige issue because it was the last poll before Parliamentary elections.

Bhadohi has 37% Muslim electorate and it's quite clear that they voted for cycle. Congress managed to get just 2,500 votes. Why? Clearly, it's not that the goodwill earned by Mulayam Singh Yadav during the demolition of Babri Masjid, is reason enough for this support.

Journalist Zafar Agha says that Bhadohi residents (like most of the silent rural and poor voter that doesn't speak on TV and whose opinion is not sought in discussions) haven't forgotten the riots that were an annual feature till 1993, when the first Mulayam Singh-led government had come to power in UP.

"The weavers of Bhadohi, mostly Ansaris, must have recalled the horrific communal riots that occurred in towns of UP for forty years under Congress rule". He mocks at sections who said that SP will lose the support because of rebellion by Shafiqur Rahman Barq or dissent shown by Azam Khan and others of his ilk.

Perhaps, he is right. It is a hard truth. For the last 16 years, UP has seen no major communal riot. Of course, BSP has also been in the power. Elsewhere Muslims do vote for Congress, but it seems in UP they are still wary because they haven't forgotten the past when towns where the Muslims were employed in industries were constantly rocked by riots--Firozabad, Moradabad, Aligarh et al.

Peace and riot-free atmosphere, it seems, they yearn for. But the day is still far when ensuring peace and law-and-order would be considered the most basic qualification of any party to run the government.

Read earlier posts on this blog:

Congress and communal riots in India

Fall of Congress in Uttar Pradesh


Sandeep Monga said...

If only everyone could realise that Congress destroyed the nation's peace & its secular fabric during its 50yr rule becuse they never wanted to give up power & if only the BJP could stop talking nonsense & start really an effort at being an all inclusive party.If only we make a resolve of not to be divided in the name of religion,cast,creed,language,region or anything else.If & its a very big if but I am hopeful that we have & we will stay united.

The Don said...

If is correct analysis then a weak government is not a good sign for India in the times of financial crisis.

Anonymous said...

How conveniently have you forgotten the riots in Mau with the goons of Mukhtar Ansari killing scores of Hindus and the Mulayam govt looking the other and not letting the media cover that at all! How about the riots in Gorakhpur in 2006. Guess for you ,those dont count as there more hindu lives were lost!!

Anonymous said...

The question is "Whom should the Muslims of UP vote for in the ensuing general elections?"Muslims were upset by the treatment of Congress Party which was ruling UP for long.Their non cooperation was to a certain extent responsible for the downfall of Congress .Sp and BSP are vying to support the
Muslims.But, now, SP has sought
Kalyan Singh's help! BSP is likely to have an underhand deal with BJP!
Under such changed circumstances, Muslims of UP should be guided by their "enlighted self-interest"!And re-establish their relations with
Congress and help it scure more than 40 out of UP's 80 LS seats!This way they could improve the fortunes of the grand Old Party regain its past glory.

kk said...

I believe you too grew up in UP? Then why have you written as a outsider? As if the riots in previous years did not affect you?

Is there any good non-partisan analysis (say transcribes of those affected)of the previous riots? Godhra was horrific but we (fortunately) remember it because it happened in the Satellite TV generation. Previous riots tend to remain abstract numbers and dates in old papers. :-/

kk said...

Even M J Akbar had made the point (which genuinely surprised me as a child of the 80s) that Muslims who remembered the old riots would put things like Godhra in perspective.

In other words, though you and I are aware of the increased and open hatred amongst decent people, (unlike what we imagined in childhood), on the ground, things are better than before. :)

indscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
indscribe said...

Sandeep ji: Congress made lot of mistakes as it got an unusually long period to rule without any real opposition but now that era has ended. It can't be complacent and behave like an autocrat. Similarly, BJP should also learn that it has to be more inclusive.

Anon: I haven't conveniently forgtten. Kindly don't speak of riots in terms of Hindu Vs Muslim or Hindu rogue MLA Vs Muslim rogue MLA.

Should you speak the language which we hear of a die-hard RSS worker? Those on the other side can't forget what Ajit Chandel Punit and other leaders of Hindu Yuva Vahini did in Muslim localities from Shahadatpur to Alinagar?

Friend, we must grow out of this sort of charges and counter-charges. Should we forget the real heroes who despite such frenized atmosphere, saved lives of persons of other religions.

The death toll in Mau riot was 12 that later went up to 15. Poor Muslims died and Poor Hindus died in riots, no politician or businessman or any affluent guy died.

There were attacks on Muslim localities as also on Hindu localities and the figures of deaths of Hindu and Muslims was almost same. But it was controlled within three days.

Now contrast this is to riots in Moradabad or Meerut or the ones in Kanpur and Aligarh where figures were in THOUSANDS and HUNDREDS. There used to be no effort during Congress governments in UP to stop riots.

There have been examples when due to a riot, SP-Collector were shifted and new SP-Collector air-dropped to take charge. It is a reality that any riot can be controlled if the government and administration wants it to be brought under control.

Anon2: Ideally one must vote for a good candidate or comparatively better one but there aren't much choices if one goes by that yardstick.

KK: I used to spend my summers in UP. Though I have lived through a couple of UP riots and saw how ordinary citizens turned into rioters overnight.

Godhra and Gujarat carnage occurred in satellite TV era. Yes. But still the bloodbath couldn't be controlled because the administration didn't want action....

kk said...

Just read the links you provided and OMG! Is it true? That there were no Urdu medium schools in UP until recently? Why was that tolerated?

Even here in Bangalore, we have had plenty of Urdu, telugu, Tamil et al Government schools based on the demographics of the area.

But of course, people took to the streets when the Congress government tried to have a daily news cast in Urdu in the then limited Kannada programming time slot. This led to communal AND linguistic feelings being aroused. :)

cityking hindi largest newspaper said...

u r doing very well but i u want hindi and better artical and news and u r welcome in my blog

Dr.A.Ravindranath Kennedy M.D(Acu)., said...

Dear viewers,

The subjected news was as related with my predictions here under,

K.P Astological prediction results for the forthcoming 2009 Indian parliamentary election by K.P Astrologer, Jyothishvisharat, Dr.A.Ravindranathkennedy M.D(Acu)., as follows..

1. Indian National Congress with its
alliances will get =127 seats

2. Bharathiya Janatha Party with its
alliances will get =167 seats

3. Communist Parties with its 3rd front
alliances will get =156 seats

4. Other Parties or individuals away from
the major alliances will get = 93 seats
Total = 543 seats
The above prediction results published on 21.12.2008,
By K.P Astrologer Dr.A.Ravindranathkennedy M.D(Acu).,

Contact Details:-
Cell: 9865505250, Ph: 04577242019
E-mail:- dr_ravindranath@yahoo.co.in


om! Tat! Sat!

Milind Kher said...

SP really cannot do much for Muslims. All the reservations against the Congress notwithstanding, it is the only party that can act as a defense against the BJP.

Muslim vote should not get divided, because that would then give the BJP a field day.