Monday, April 22, 2024

Why there would be more Muslim MLAs in UP assembly than in 2017?

In 2022, 33 Muslim MLAs — all belonging to Samajwadi Party, RLD and SBSP — have made it to the UP Assembly. This is more than 2017, when only 25 made it to the House.

Once seen as the ‘deciding factor’ for their propensity for ‘strategic voting’, Muslims had been a formidable electorate in Uttar Pradesh until the 2014 general elections, when BJP’s strategy of consolidating Hindu votes pushed the minority vote to the margins.

While SP and allies fielded 64 Muslim candidates, BSP gave tickets to 87 and Congress to 65. Both BSP and Congress drew blank in 2022.

But, the Muslim voters perceivably consolidate in favour of SP and their representation has gone up in Assembly despite BJP’s emphatic return to power.

Muslims constitute more than 50% of Rampur’s population; 47% in Moradabad and Sambhal; 43% in Bijnor; 41% in Saharanpur; over 40% in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Amroha; between 30% and 40% in five more districts; and 20% to 30% in 12 districts. And yet, the community has acquired a mute-spectator image lately.

Overall, Muslims make up some 20 per cent of the UP’s population. 

In western UP, SP’s experiment of placing its bet on Jat-Muslim unity worked partially.

In Rampur, which has the highest concentration of over 50 per cent of the minority population, the Muslims had a clear sway over all the five seats ensuring the victory of jailed SP MP Azam Khan.  

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