With 80 Lok Sabha constituencies, Uttar Pradesh is one of the most significant states of India. The state has given the maximum number of Prime Ministers to the nation. Lately, the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj party formed an alliance with the sole agenda of cornering the ruling BJP government. Interestingly, Congress which polled 7.5 percent of the votes in 2014 has been left out of the alliance, even though all three parties have the same goal to ouster the BJP.
However, this coalition does not seem to be getting support of the Muslims who constitute 19.23% of the total population of Uttar Pradesh. Both the SP and BSP largely depend on Muslim votes but are allegedly circumventing the Muslim representation in their alliance. The eminent Muslim outfits which are proactive in the politics of state like the National Ulema Council, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and even students union of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) are taking a jibe at the duo of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati for the lapse.
In western UP, the students union of Aligarh Muslim University called the ‘gathbandhan’ a ‘Thugbandhan’ (an alliance of thugs). The AMU students believe that they are left with no option but NOTA.
“We were also anticipating our participation in the alliance. Muslims have played a key role in nurturing these parties. But they kept us out,” quoted a senior office bearer of National Ulema Council which is based in Azamgarh district of eastern UP. Akhilesh Yadav’s estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav, who recently formed the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), claimed that his party would emerge as a “strong force” in the polls while Mayawati asked people “not to waste their vote on his Shivpal’s party funded by the BJP”. This has given a clear picture of the clash among three parties.
The current scenario clearly indicates towards a triangular contest among BJP, SP-BSP alliance and the Congress. Interestingly, triangular contests have conventionally suited the Bhartiya Janata Party. For example, BJP clean swept Haryana where it was up against the Congress and INLD, It emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra where it was contesting against NCP and Congress, Later on, it won Uttar Pradesh comprehensively where it contested against SP+Cong and BSP. It is amusing to know that it even got itself into a situation of forming the government in Jammu and Kashmir where it was contesting against the NCP-Congress alliance and the PDP. Also, the Muslim voters opting for NOTA is only going to benefit the BJP. The BJP’s vote share is likely to increase unexpectedly after the BSP-SP alliance.
In Uttar Pradesh, the tussle between Dalits and Yadavs is visible. With no proper authoritative figure in both the parties, vote transfer in 2019 elections is a remote possibility. One cannot deny cross voting either which will nurture votes for the BJP.
Clearly, the deviation in the traditional Muslim votes of SP-BSP is evident in Uttar Pradesh. Also, the uproar and dissent among people make things tough for the newly formed alliance. People of Uttar Pradesh are now well aware of the tactics being applied by the two parties to lure voters.