Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017: Samajwadi Party feud divides Muslims voters
Uttar Pradesh: With the Samajwadi Party rift widening by the day, one of the communities to feel the hit in a major way are the Muslims of Uttar Pradesh. The 2012 victory of the party can be largely attributed to the support of the community. However, with no end in site for the Samajwadi Party’s family feud, Muslim voters have been forced to consider other ‘secular’ options.
The Muslim vote base constitutes almost 20 percent of the total votes in Uttar Pradesh. According to popular political observers, the feud in the Samajwadi Party means that the vote is set to shift to the Bahujan Samajwadi Party. Playing into the shift, BSP Supremo Mayawati has handed out 97 tickets to Muslims for the upcoming elections.
However, Muslim voters are not completely convinced by the gesture. Most, believe that the Dalit leader handed out the tickets to Muslims in her own personal interest. The Samajwadi Party’s continuing indecisiveness does not help matters for the community either.
While rumours are rife of a split, the messages sent out by Samajwadi Party leaders seem contradictory.The Mulayam Singh Yadav camp has repeatedly denied the possibility of a split in the party. However, the akhilesh Yadav camp continues to suggest the launch of own faction and possibly even an alliance with the Congress party.
Annoyed with the opacity displayed by the Samajwadi Party, Mohammad Haji Sales, General Secretary of the All India Sunni Ulema Council notably said, “People should not vote for the SP, we are not the bonded labourers of Mulayam or Akhilesh, we will show them our strength and will vote unitedly for some other party.”
Though, the SP has an outwardly secular image, its failure to keep up with past promises further annoying Muslim voters. In the 012 Assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party’s manifesto had included the promise of an 18 percent reservation.
However, no such measure has thus far been adopted by Uttar Pradesh’s incumbent government. Further, the party’s handling of the Muzaffarnagar riots remains a sore spot for members of Uttar Pradesh’s Muslim community.