At 10, Muslims may form big block of BSP LS candidates
Bahujan Samaj Party has declared Muslim Lok Sabha incharges for six constituencies, and the number may go up to 10. In BSP, the LS in-charge becomes the party candidate from that constituency.
Of the 38 seats BSP is contesting in UP, 10 are reserved constituencies, leaving 28 in the party’s kitty to be distributed among others. Out of the 28, nine are from Brahmins. BSP is set to field around 9-10 Muslims, leaving 10-odd seats to accommodate other castes, including Other Backward Classes.
Giving nine tickets to Brahmins is understandable since Brahmins have voted for Mayawati before, but she hasn’t been able to woo the Muslims despite luring them with more tickets in the past. Muslims form 19% of the voters in UP.
In 2007, BSP formed government in UP because Dalits, Brahmins and a section of other upper caste and non-Yadav OBCs such as Prajapati, Saini and others backed her party, but Muslims largely stayed with Samajwadi Party.
In 2012, Mayawati lost the elections and started re-engineering her social base. In 2014, she gave maximum tickets to Muslims, more than any other party in the LS election. BSP fielded 19 Muslims while SP fielded 14. However, no Muslim candidate from the both parties won the election.
In 2017, BSP fielded 99 Muslim candidates while the SP fielded 62, and Congress 18. However, only five Muslims won out of the 99 from BSP. In the 2017 assembly polls, BSP won 19 seats. On the other hand, 17 Muslim MLAs won on SP tickets.
Another problem with the BSP is that it doesn’t have a strong Muslim leader, and the current ones are only influential in their respective areas. The party had a senior Muslim leader in Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who is with the Congress now.
The challenge for Mayawati is also to establish a new Muslim leadership which is good enough to attract votes beyond their own constituency.
Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Afzal are two such leaders who have influence over Muslim votes in large parts of Purvanchal. An alliance with the SP is Mayawati’s best chance to lure Muslim voters. A section within the SP, including party patron Mulayam Singh, is sceptical of the advantage the BSP enjoys in the alliance.
Courtesy: The Economic Times