Stepping up its marketing campaign to tackle the ruling Bharatiya Janata Occasion (BJP) within the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Meeting elections, the Samajwadi Occasion (SP) has been engaged in a number of outreach programmes to woo completely different communities.
What has nevertheless been evident to date is that the SP has not been making comparable strikes to achieve out to Muslim voters within the state.
Within the SP’s evaluation, this may very well be attributed to the “TINA (there isn’t a various) issue”. The rationale why the Akhilesh Yadav-led social gathering will not be seen making efforts for outreach to the Muslim group, based on a number of SP leaders, is that the social gathering stays assured that Muslim voters don’t realistically have any alternative apart from backing the SP “in the event that they need to oust the BJP from energy in Uttar Pradesh”.
Whereas the SP has fashioned alliances with 5 smaller events for the UP polls, specializing in their help bases amongst non-Yadav OBC communities, it has not joined fingers with any social gathering which has a supposed base amongst Muslims within the state. It was made clear a while in the past when Akhilesh refused to ally with Assaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM. The important thing purpose behind it, the SP leaders keep, is that the social gathering didn’t need to polarise the bulk Hindu votes in favour of the BJP.
The Muslim group constitutes about 20 per cent of UP’s inhabitants, however given the prevailing communal scenario, no Opposition social gathering is overtly speaking about them, fearing backlash from the bulk group within the state.
A senior SP chief mentioned that it’s a part of the social gathering’s technique to not discuss Muslim points brazenly forward of the elections because it fears communal polarisation amongst Hindu voters in favour of the BJP. “The social gathering’s inside surveys have confirmed that it’ll get help from Muslim group which needs to overthrow the BJP from the state. The SP fears that if it turns into too vocal about Muslim points, it’ll result in polarisation among the many Hindu group in UP,” mentioned the chief.
The SP chief mentioned the social gathering organised coaching camps for its rank and file throughout UP final yr wherein native leaders have been made to know that the general public discourse on Muslim points must be stored in examine if the social gathering needs to type its authorities within the state.
“Everybody is aware of that the SP shall be higher for Muslims than the BJP, and that’s the reason the Muslim management inside the social gathering has additionally agreed with the technique fashioned by the social gathering high management. Throughout the coaching camps held final yr, the native management was made to know that it should keep quiet on Muslim if it needs to type authorities within the state,” the chief mentioned.
Within the final couple of years, Akhilesh has additionally avoided elevating Muslim points within the state. Whereas it was the SP that had helped the group following the CAA-NRC protests in 2019, wherein 19 individuals had died in violence, by saying a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the households of the deceased, the social gathering has since most popular to stay quiet on numerous points associated to the group.
So, whereas the SP has been focusing on the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP authorities over numerous points associated to Brahmins, backward communities and Dalits, it has chosen to maintain mum on points just like the state’s anti-conversion regulation and the renewed calls for for a temple on the disputed web site in Mathura. Akhilesh has additionally not joined subject with senior BJP leaders after they have made vital remarks towards the Muslim group throughout their marketing campaign in current days.
Alternatively, the SP chief has not shied away from exhibiting off his Hindu credentials. He has regularly visited temples throughout his visits to numerous districts in the previous few months.
Earlier this month, Akhilesh provided prayers on the temple of Lord Parshuram constructed by one in every of his social gathering’s Brahmin leaders in Gosaiganj space in Lucknow. Equally, he additionally visited a Hanuman Temple in December throughout his go to to Rae Bareilly district.
Requested if this can result in the social gathering dropping help from the Muslim group, SP nationwide spokesperson Abdul Hafeez Gandhi mentioned, “The Samajwadi Occasion believes in inclusive politics. We’re acutely aware of the Muslim aspirations and can embrace these in our ballot manifesto. Whereas different events are making massive guarantees we’ve delivered on our guarantees each time we’ve fashioned authorities. Prior to now, we’ve given ample illustration to Muslims within the SP authorities from 2012-17. This time additionally we are going to area Muslim candidates to make sure their ample illustration. Our tallest Muslim chief Azam Khan is in jail because of misuse of energy by current authorities led by Yogi Adityanath.“
The SP spokesperson additionally mentioned, “Different SP Muslim leaders are campaigning and reaching out to the voters. They’re engaged on the bottom for a number of months and are getting an excellent response. One other facet is that the SP doesn’t need voters to be polarised on faith and caste and overlook about the actual points that are inflation, unemployment, police atrocities, regulation and order and girls security.”
One other SP chief mentioned that with a view to do away with the notion that the social gathering solely works for Yadavs and Muslims, it has additionally pushed a number of Yadav leaders together with Muslim leaders to the background.
“The social gathering needs to shed the picture that it’s a pro-Muslim and pro-Yadav social gathering and doesn’t work for different communities,” the chief mentioned.
A supply within the SP mentioned that about 50 Muslim candidates shall be fielded by the social gathering for the upcoming polls in seats the place the Muslim group has a sizeable inhabitants. “These seats shall be in Moradabad, Azamgarh, Ghazipur, Mau, Rampur, Bahraich, Balrampur and western UP districts like Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Meerut, the place Muslims have a sizeable inhabitants,” mentioned the supply.
Within the 2017 UP Meeting polls, the SP had fielded 57 Muslim candidates, when it had allied with the Congress and contested 311 seats. Of those 57 candidates, 17 had been elected to the state Meeting. Within the 2012 Meeting elections, the SP had fielded 78 Muslim candidates, of whom 43 had been elected.
Within the 2017 polls, altogether 24 Muslim candidates have been elected to the 403-member UP Meeting, when the BJP had gained the elections with a landslide.
In 2012, the Muslim MLAs’ determine was increased with 69 Muslim nominees getting elected to the UP Meeting, when the SP had fashioned authorities. This was the best variety of Muslim MLAs being elected to the UP Meeting since Independence.
With the BSP remaining silent on Muslim points and the Congress focusing its marketing campaign on girls voters, the SP seems to be just about sure of garnering the Muslim group’s votes within the upcoming UP polls.
“We count on to get round 80-90 per cent of the Muslim votes this time. That can also be as a result of Muslims have realised that voting for every other social gathering will assist the BJP,” mentioned a senior SP chief from Japanese UP.
There appears to be a view within the Muslim group that in 2017 the BJP did nicely and secured greater than 300 seats as a result of Muslim votes had bought divided amongst a number of events. The BSP had fielded 99 Muslim candidates within the state, the best by any social gathering. However solely 5 of these candidates had been elected and in a number of constituencies Muslim votes have been divided due to the presence of a number of Muslim candidates within the fray.
With Azam Khan persevering with to languish in jail, a brand new Muslim chief of his stature has not emerged from the SP ranks. Whereas many within the SP imagine the social gathering has “deserted” Khan, a number of leaders imagine that the one alternative the SP now has is to attempt to type its authorities with out making it a ballot subject after which “right the wrongs perpetrated by the BJP authorities towards Khan and his household”. “If we make an excessive amount of noise about it proper now, we are going to do precisely what the BJP needs, and can polarise the Hindus, serving to the BJP,” mentioned a senior chief from the Muslim group.
SP leaders additionally really feel that the media overplays the information of Akhilesh attending Muslim programmes. The social gathering’s Moradabad MP S T Hasan mentioned, “There was one picture of Akhileshji at an Iftar the place his head was coated. That picture crops up each time, whereas Modiji modifications his apparel each time he goes someplace — as an example, when he goes to attend a Sikh congregation, he wears a pagdi. However that isn’t seen by the media. However Akhileshji’s one picture the place he’s carrying a skullcap is circulated each time the BJP talks of the SP being a pro-Muslim social gathering.”
He additionally mentioned, “Muslims in UP have been harassed beneath the BJP dispensation in any respect ranges. They know that Owaisi’s AIMIM, BSP, or Congress can’t free them of this harassment regime however solely the SP can do it and therefore they may vote for us unitedly. And after we type our authorities, we are going to guarantee their welfare together with all different communities in UP.”