Published On:01 February 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

SPECIAL REPORT: Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh set to be divided among secular parties; Congress Party to improve prospects vastly

Muslim-run parties to face humiliating defeat; Mayawati's BSP to emerge single-largest party; Samajwadi Party awaits severe drubbing

By Mohammad Shahid Parvez & Danish Ahmad Khan

Lucknow/New Delhi: Even as the Uttar Pradesh assembly 2012 poll process advances, caste and communal factors become more evident and continue to play a dominant role in the electoral politics of the state. Political parties are doing everything, fair and foul, to get the favour of a particular community or caste to ensure their victory in the elections. Suddenly all the major non-BJP parties - Congress Party, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), besides innumerable Muslim outfits, have developed a special love for Muslims, who form about 18-20 percent of the total electorate and are in a position to decide the fate of candidates in about 165 seats. Some are showering gifts and others promising moon to the community to win its favour.

The BSP chief and UP Chief Minister Mayawati after sleeping during her entire tenure of five years suddenly woke up to the electoral reality and started showing concerns to the plight of the Muslims on the eve of elections demanding that the Centre give reservation to the community. And, the Congress government at the Centre, which wants to repeat its performance of 2009 parliamentary elections, lost no time in announcing 4.5 percent quota for the backwards in the Muslim community and promised 9 percent quota if voted to power in the state. Not to lag behind in the race is the Samajwadi Party which went a step ahead to promise in its manifesto 18 percent reservation to the community and addressing all its grievances if the party comes to power. The Samajwadi Party is so sure of getting Muslim votes that Azam Khan, the Muslim face of the party, declared that Muslims have forgiven the party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for his hobnobbing with Kalyan Singh, hero of Babri Masjid demolition. Recent media reports quoted Azam Khan as saying, ‘I have not come across a single Muslim who says he has not forgiven him (Mulayam) or the party for it,’ Azam Khan is ready to stand guarantee that his party will not repeat the mistake in future. “I stand guarantee to it. This cannot happen. Not at least till I am there in the party, no matter what. Azam says and then reminds the Muslims about the ‘great favour’ Mulayam did to Muslims by staking ‘his government but did not allow the karsevaks to perform shilapujan when he was the Chief Minster.’

Azam Khan’s statement is that of a politician who thinks that public memory is short. While standing guarantee that his party will not repeat the same mistake in fiuture, Azam forgets that the party not once, but twice tied up with Kalyan Singh in the past. Prior to 2009, the party formed government with the support of Kalyan Singh and Azam Khan was a minister in that government. Azam Khan, a forceful voice in the party then, perhaps did not remember that Kalyan Singh was responsible, along with many others, for the demolition of Babri Masjid. But in 2009 the situation was different. Amar Singh, who became the final word in the party due to his closeness to Mulayam, gagged his voice at the policy making level in the party. Feeling suffocated Azam Khan was looking for a way out and the Kalyan Singh issue came handy for him. He resigned, giving impression that he was resigning on Kalyan issue to win sympathy and respect of the community. Mulayam government fulfilled its constitutional obligation by protecting the Babri Masjid by ordering firing on marauding karsevaks. But Azam Khan never asked or mustered courage to demand that his party give Muslims their due, on whose vote it tasted power. Recently, to befool Muslims and desperate to garner their votes in the forthcoming 2012 elections, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav even announced that if his party would be returned to power then Azam Khan will be made the next chief minister. But, ever since his second homecoming in the party Azam Khan remains forlorn and continues to sulk with SP supremo's son Akhilesh Yadav calling the shots and disregarding Azam Khan's view in every way possible. Azam Khan's discomfiture in the party can only be gauged from the fact that when on January 28 Mulayam Singh Yadav managed to gain support of Delhi's Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Ahmad Bukhari, Khan retorted that it is not the job of religious leaders to indulge into politics and give political diktats. Earlier, Ahmad Bukhari had also asked Muslims to support right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during parliamentary elections, which played a major role in the demolition of Babri Masjid. The sulking Azam Khan therefore is surely a bad omen for the prospects of Samajwadi Party in the current assembly elections.

Some of the Muslim voters whom this correspondent, Danish Ahmad Khan, talked to said that Samajwadi Party has lost Muslim support considerably. They aver that Samajwadi Party will face a severe drubbing, while the prospects of Congress Party has brightened and will vastly improve. Some voters, who prefer anonymity, said that Azam Khan has lost his clout in the Samajwadi Party over the years and will not be able to get the party the desired Muslim votes this time round. Besides, the recent joining of Rashid Masood in the Congress Party has certainly emboldened the party and will greatly work to its advantage. By available indicaions it is certain that the Congress Party has made huge forays into the Muslim votebank and will undoubtedly succeed in a big way at the cost of the Samajwadi Party.

Azam Khan's ‘genuine’ love for Indian Muslims

How much love does Azam Khan has for Muslims in his state as well as for those in his country can only be gauged from several of his past actions. Khan, who was the leader of Samajwadi Party in the state legislature, along with Amar Singh was instrumental in garnering support for the largest ever 98-member ministry led by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in October 2003. The ministry was installed after dethroning the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state. To show his gratitude, Mulayam Singh Yadav rewarded 30 of the 40 BSP defectors with ministerial berths. Even the 14-member Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Kalyan Singh led 4-member Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP) managed to secure berths for half of their legislators. Kalyan Singh’s son Rajveer Singh alias Raju Bhaiya was also part of the ministry, which included Azam Khan who held an important portfolio. While staking claim to form an alternative government and urging state governor Vishnukant Shastri to dismiss the Mayawati government, Khan had then confidently claimed before mediapersons, "We have the support of 204 members in the 403-member state assembly. We have enlisted the support of 37 BJP legislators, who are fed up with the party and the government. We also have support of 14 independents and the Left parties. Congress Party is also giving us outside support." Kalyan Singh after deserting the BJP during 2003 assembly elections formed his own political party RKP and extended support to SP and helped Mulayam become the chief minister. However, after a year he broke ties with Mulayam and rejoined the BJP in 2004. It was quite obvious that Azam Khan chose to disregard morality and the pangs of his Muslim conscience then in order to ally with Babri Masjid demolition hero Kalyan Singh to gain power anyhow after ouster of Mayawati-led government. Where was Azam Khan’s professed love for Muslims then particularly when the wounds of Babri Masjid demolition were quite fresh for the Indian Muslims? Why is Azam Khan opposing Kalyan Singh’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party now?

Azam Khan’s other misdemeanors; likens Rahul Gandhi to a “Pig”

Several of Azam Khan’s actions can be cited that would expose him for what he really stands for. Khan, who was then Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister and a prominent Muslim face of Samajwadi Party, had raised the demand for a separate ‘Muslim Pradesh’ in Western UP on 16 July 2006 during a public meeting at Ghaziabad. This was done keeping assembly elections in view in order to counter the influence of coalition partner Rashtriya Lok Dal and to subvert RLD chief Ajit Singh’s demand for ‘Harit Pradesh’ in the region. Azam Khan very well knows the current fate of Muslims that has befallen them ever since the partition of India and the creation of a separate Islamic nation of Pakistan. As such, instead of ameliorating the sufferings of Muslims in his state and the country, Azam Khan chose to raise a separatist demand, which would have certainly done no good to his Muslim brethren.

On 1 July 2007, one Zulfiqar Khan lodged a police complaint against Azam Khan for constantly issuing life threats and encroaching his agricultural land for construction of the new Tehsil building in Madar Kohna area of Rampur district. Besides Khan, the police FIR was lodged against the then District Magistrate Mohd. Mustafa, Tehsildar Shamshad Hussain, and a Public Works Department executive engineer under section 109, 119, 120 (b), 226, 174, 177, 341, 192, 217, 431, 442, 447, 506, 383, 384, 389, 430 and 432 of IPC. In another case, Azam Khan was booked for illegally constructing a boundary wall and blocking way to the Mohd. Ali Jauhar University on 29 June 2007. Yet another case was registered against Khan for assaulting villagers near the Mohd. Ali Jauhar University in Rampur on 23 June 2007. Khan is the Chancellor for Life of Mohd. Ali Jauhar University, which was created by Mulayam Singh Yadav during his chief ministership. Further, Khan was booked under another case on 14 June 2007. The case related to the seizure of 500 sewing machines and 400 blankets from Samajwadi Party office in Rampur that was allegedly purchased from the District Urban Development Agency funds when Khan was Urban Development Minister. The purchase was done keeping in view of the elections. Thus, at least four cases were registered against Azam Khan within a period of 17 days.

Azam Khan’s misdemeanor doesn’t stop here only. It seems Khan needs to get some lessons in propriety and public decency. Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan likened Rahul Gandhi to a “Pig” at a public rally in Ghazipur in eastern UP. On 26 April 2007 Khan had told his audience in Ghazipur that if Rahul Gandhi referred to the Babri Masjid as a mere structure, he would look worse than a pig to him. Khan’s crass comment was telecast by a TV channel much to the chagrin of Samajwadi Party

Muslim leaders - Agents and Self-Seekers

It is unfortunate that Muslim leaders in various parties act more like agents of their respective parties among Muslims than Muslim faces in their parties. Be it Azam Khan, Naseemuddin Siddiqui in BSP or Salman Khursheed in Congress, all promote their own and their parties’ interests more than the interests of the community they belong. This is perhaps why these leaders do not want any other Muslim leader to flourish in their respective parties to challenge their hegemony.

The less talked about different Muslim outfits, the better it will be. Scores of Muslim-run outfits, such as Peace Party of India, Rashtriya Ulema Council, Rashtriya Inquilab Party, Welfare Party of India, Social Democratic Party of India, Popular Front of India, and others are out to play spoilsport and barter away Muslim votes in the name of community's development, security and prosperity.

Peace Party of India, led by Dr. Ayub Ansari, has some following among a section of Muslim backward castes, particularly among weavers. Instead of working for the entire Muslim community, Dr. Ayub Ansari prefers to play the same divisive politics among Muslims and does not have wholehearted support of entire Muslims, except backwards. The party is trying to wean away some Muslim votes that would have otherwise gone to secular parties, and would at best help propping up parties with communal agenda. Rashtriya Ulema Council, a single-agenda party formed after Batla House 'Fake' encounter, is now openly hobnobbing with the BJP. Instead of focusing on getting justice to the Batla House fake encounter victims' families, the party has now thought it better to dabble in politics, and had unsuccessfully contested parliamentary elections in 2009. Ilyas Azmi, a former BSP MP and Vice President of Jamaate-I-Islami Hind-sponsored Welfare Party of India, has now formed his own Rashtriya Inquelab Party and has extended support to the right wing BJP.

Despite these parties making their best efforts to have their share of the Muslim pie, the community has thought it best to reject these small communal formations at the hustings time and again knowing fully well that such outfits do not work to the advantage of the community as compared to the secular parties.

As the Muslim voters are keeping their cards close to their chests and not opening their options, the parties, in their curiosity to know the impact of their offers on the community, are giving misleading statements to find out their mind. And although several other small time leaders and outfits are advising the community voters to vote for one or the other party depending on their own vested interests, the Muslim masses know it fully well that it is the election politics that has forced all these parties to become their well wishers. They know that all the three parties which are staking claim on their vote, have cheated them at one time or the other and will do so again if it serves their interests. Fed up with being used as vote bank coupled with the absence of a selfless and united leadership to bargain for them with these parties and guide them, the Muslims are most likely to go for strategic voting or in other words they will vote for secular, honest and winnable candidate belonging to any of these parties.

[Mohammad Shahid Parvez is former News Editor, National Herald, Lucknow. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Uttar Pradesh). He can be contacted at mshahidparvez@gmail.com. Danish Ahmad Khan is Founder-Editor of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on February 01, 2012. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on February 01, 2012. Filed under , , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

3 comments for "SPECIAL REPORT: Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh set to be divided among secular parties; Congress Party to improve prospects vastly"

  1. The reporter has little sense of UP's these days politics. Peace Party does not has supports among wevers only but enjoys supports of all muslim casts apart from backward classes as well as secular minded Hindus. The agenda and social engineering formula is applealing and people are joining Peace Party groups in groups. If every thing will go well , Peace Party will win around 60 seats and will be in a respectable position to form government along with secular parties . Domariyaganj,Utraula,Balrampur,Zaidpur,Bahraich,Khalilabad,Tanda,Chandausi,Sultanpur,Lakhimpur Khiri,Saharanpur, Mubarakpur, Bareilly are wining areas of PPI, just conduct another survey and you will realise real facts, Growing popularity of Peace Party has forced Mafias of Muslim votes to consider them , otherwise there will be only PPI. Long LIve Peace Party, Long Live Hindu Muslim Unity

  2. with all due respect to d writer, so should we be afraid of votes getting divided and keep voting for big parties? who always use muslims as mere vote bank? have we have no strength to support or make our own muslim party?

    i would more than happy if d votes get divided and congress,sp,bsp dont come to power. let them know muslims votes are costly, and they all need to earn it.

    sdpi or wpi, they might be small partys but have d potential and zeal to uplift muslims, and are very far away from dirty politics. InshaAllah i will be voting for sdpi this election, n I will be proud of myself, than fall to the scare tactics of other parties.

  3. what ever u hv written abt Azam khan is just bluff....n u know how I know it beacuse I just know it ..... the way u thnk is wrong abt azam .
    If u dont change the manner of thnking then u will die with wrong perception

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