Published On:16 March 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

After record win, Muslims eye handsome returns

By Manjari Mishra & Ashish Tripathi

Lucknow: After Akhilesh Yadav rewrote history books by becoming the youngest chief minister of India's most populated state, it's now the turn of UP's 16th legislative assembly to boast of another high - the all-time high number of Muslim legislators.

With 68 Muslim MLAs, excitement is visible among the community members, who have always played a crucial role in tipping the scales in the cow-belt politics. In 2007, it propped up the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and this time, it swung in favour of the Samajwadi Party. A miffed Mayawati publicly attributes her rout and rival's victory to "70% Muslim votes in Samajwadi Party's kitty". And, 43 Muslim MLAs of Samajwadi Party only support her claims.

SP had fielded 78 Muslim candidates, against 58 in 2007, and 43 of them romped home. BSP gave tickets to 85 (it had fielded 61 last time). However, only 16 won. Riding high on Rahul's mission-2012 euphoria, Congress had fielded 62 Muslim candidates (the tally last time was 49), but only four registered win. The victory graph of these parties showed the same trend in the 140 Muslim dominated constituencies across the state.

SP won 72, BSP emerged victorious at 27 seats, while BJP and Congress bagged 25 and 11 seats respectively. Ironically, it was Maya who paved the way for Akhilesh Yadav's bicycle ride to 5 Kalidas Marg in July 2011, when she faxed a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded a constitutional amendment to expand quota for backwards among the Muslims.

Swinging into a damage control mode, an alarmed Congress cleared the 4.5% sub-quota almost immediately to outshine Maya, while an overjoyed BJP raised the pitch for an urgent roll back. Mulayam Singh Yadav was perhaps the last to join the quota bandwagon, but raced up to the top of the popularity chart and stole the rivals' thunder by promising "18% reservation to Muslim brethrens, if voted back to power. This proved to be the proverbial game-changer, claimed Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali.

"To the unemployed and desperate youth, this was something completely unexpected. It meant prosperity and secure future, and overnight SP emerged as the most favourite choice," said Firangimahali. No one cared to pay heed to the frenzied rebuttal by Digvijay Singh and Salman Khurshid who explained that the move entailed a constitutional amendment, for which SP lacked requisite support on the floor. "The dream instantly clicked and the rest is history," said the Muslim cleric. His compatriots list other sops like Urdu medium school in every Muslim dominated locality, or a speedy implementation of the recommendations of Sachar Committee and Rangnath Mishra Commission, but agree that the clincher this time, was decidedly the extra mile walked by Mulayam's party.

Significantly, 64 Muslim candidates turned out to be runner-ups this time, a fact which proves the might of a community, which has 19.8% presence in the state. Senior member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Zafaryab Jilani sees the phenomenal success of SP this time as the outcome of a clear shift of Muslim-Brahmin combination in their favour.

"Both communities had been traditional votebank of the Congress in past, but seem to have shifted their allegiance to SP and thereby boosted the number of Muslim wins," he said.

The group of 68 also includes many giant killers like Shakir Ali (SP), who trounced UP BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi in Pathardeva seat. In Azamgarh's Didarganj, SP's Adil Sheikh defeated speaker of state assembly Sukhdev Rajbhar. Former minister in Mayawati's cabinet Nand Gopal Gupta 'Nandi' was drubbed by SP first-timer Haji Parvez Ahmed 'Tanki'. Four-time BJP MLA Inder Dev Singh lost the battle to Mohammad Ghazi in Barhara. Mohammed Rehan registered the first victory of a Muslim candidate from Lucknow west by defeating BJP veteran Suresh Kumar Shrivastava. Interestingly one of the two seats out of 10 in Gandhi bastion of Amethi and Rae Bareli was won by Mohammed Muslim after he wrested Tiloi from SP's Mayankeshwar Saran Singh.

Muslim resistance in western UP adversely affected poll prospects of RLD-Congress combine. RLD had fielded nine Muslim candidates in the region, and all of them lost.

For Congress, the lesson proved to be harsher after Salman Khurshid's wife Louise finished fifth and lost her deposit despite the minister's public pledge to raise the sub-quota to 9% after election. Congress also lost credibility after the Batla house slip up particularly Salman's assertion and retraction of how Sonia cried over the encounter. BSP always seemed indifferent to the community and had always been wary of Muslim support, therefore SP was the only winning option left. Meanwhile, Peace Party claimed 4 seats and failed to cut much ice with voters. Before elections, president Dr Ayub had claimed that Peace Party would be in a position to join the government.

Ulema Council, another Purvanchal-based party, floated in reaction to Batla House encounter also bit dust, as all candidates lost deposit. Ittehad-e-Millat Council came up with a surprise win when Shazil Islam, former minister in Maya cabinet and dropped during her clean-up drive, clawed back to the assembly from Bhojipura. The members of the community now expect the payback time post March 15, the day Akhilesh takes chief minister's oath.

Quoting a letter sent to him by Mulayam on October 21 in response to an invitation to a Muslim reservation conference, Jilani said, "It promised us implementation of recommendations of the reports of Sachar Committee and Rangnath Mishra Commission, if voted to power." Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani, rector of Darul Uloom Deoband too hailed Samajwadi Party's victory and hoped that "it fulfils all promises made to the minorities in its manifesto."

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on March 16, 2012. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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