Uttar Pradesh 2017

Split Muslim vote sees BJP home in many U.P. seats

Path to victory: Brijesh Pathak, left, who won the Deoband seat in U.P., during election campaigning.

Path to victory: Brijesh Pathak, left, who won the Deoband seat in U.P., during election campaigning.  

Community members voted either for SP or BSP

A split in the Muslim votes and confusion on the ability of candidates to take on the BJP are key reasons for the disastrous performance of both the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance. This was true especially in western Uttar Pradesh, where the minority community is dominant in many districts.

In more than two dozen seats, the division of Muslim votes benefited the saffron party — even in communally polarised areas of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, the minority community did not make up its mind about the winning candidate.

Turns saffron

In Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Saharanpur, Bareilly, Bijnor, Sardhana in Meerut, Khalilabad in Gorakhpur, Tanda in Ambedkar Nagar, Gainsari and Shrawasti seats in Shrawasti district, and Moradabad, the Muslim- dominated pockets of western U.P. have hence turned saffron.

Nowhere is this more obvious than Meerapur, the Assembly constituency in Muzaffarnagar, which was the epicentre of the 2013 communal riots.

In the three-way division, the Samajwadi Party lost the seat to the BJP by a mere 193 votes — the BJP's Avtar Singh Bhadana got 69,035 votes, the SP’s Liyakat Ali got 68,842, while the BSP's Nawazish Alam Khan got 39, 689 votes. These results belie expectations that Muslims vote en mass in a communally polarised area.

In Sardhana, where riot-accused BJP leader and Hindutva poster boy Sangeet Som was facing a tough challenge from Samajwadi Party's Atul Pradhan and BSP’s Imran Quraishi, again the votes were split between Quraishi and Pradhan.

Mr. Som thus won with 97,921 votes, while Mr. Pradhan came second with 76, 296 votes. Mr. Quraishi, who was popularly seen during the campaign as “best suited to defeat the Hindutva poster boy” as he also expected Jatav votes, came third with 57, 239 votes. The same script played out in Deoband which has over 1.25 lakh Muslim voters and posted a voter turnout of about 50%.

The community was divided between SP’s Maviya Ali and BSP’s Majid Ali. As a result the BJP’s Brijesh Pathak got 1,02,244 votes, with Mr. Majid Ali coming second at 72,844 votes. The incumbent MLA and SP candidate Maviya Ali also seen as a popular minority face, came distant third with 55, 385 votes.

In Kanth Assembly constituency in Muslim dominated Moradabad rural area which had chosen Aneesurrehman in 2012, the votes were divided between several Muslim candidates of the SP, BSP, AIMIM and the Peace Party.

Mr. Aneesurrehman lost by small margin of just 2, 348 votes.

While the BJP’s Rajesh Kumar Singh got 76, 307, Mr. Aneesurrehman got 73, 959, BSP’s Mohd. Nasir got 43, 820, the AIMIM’s Fizuallah Chaudhary 22, 908 and the Peace Party got 13, 931 votes.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 11:43:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-2017/split-muslim-vote-sees-bjp-home-in-many-up-seats/article17453291.ece

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