As the family feud within Uttar Pradesh’s first family continues, Muslims in the state have decided to desert the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming elections and are currently weighing their options to choose the party to cast their votes.

Muslims have been disappointed by the party for not fulfilling their promises which the SP made in its 2012 manifesto. Now the father-son fight has left them with no other option than to shift their support base to other ‘secular’ parties.

With Mulayam Singh Yadav choosing brother Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh over his son and current UP Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, the Muslim community has started looking out for alternatives.

They know the divide in the Yadav family is beyond repair and don’t want to waste their votes and make way for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government in the state.

BSP to benefit the most?

It seems that the recent family feud is politically suicidal for the Samajwadi Party as it will only boost the prospects of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is desperately trying to woo the minority group by fielding over 97 candidates from their community.

“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,” said Mohammad Haji Salees, General Secretary of the All India Sunni Ulema Council.

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If the SP doesn’t have an alliance before the elections, then the community will definitely shift their support base to the second best option: BSP, as Akhliesh doesn’t appear to be a winning horse for now.

Other reasons why the Muslim community will desert the SP

  • Before coming to power, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had promised 18 per cent reservation for Muslims, which was commensurate with their population in the state. However, till date, the Muslims are waiting for their share. “Mulayam has been manipulating us from a long time, but in this election we will teach the party a lesson for not fulfilling its promises. The father and son are fighting for money and power, how will they work towards betterment of our community,” asked Sohail Ansari, a businessman.
  • Muslims have been unhappy with the way SP handled the Muzaffarnagar riots and other communal incidents. This can especially harm the party in western UP.
  • All recent surveys have shown Mayawati in a position to win or compete well. Muslim voters would see more merit in voting for a party which likely to win (read: BSP) instead of wasting their votes on Samajwadi Party.

Muslims hold key to electoral outcome

Muslim voters, who account for nearly 20 per cent of Uttar Pradesh’s total population, can make or mar the electoral prospects of key political parties vying for the top slot in the elections.

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While divided Muslim votes might lead to BJP’s win, a consolidation will change the poll arithmetic as minorities play a crucial role in  at least 125 of 403 constituencies.