New Delhi, Jan 5 :Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh polls the eyes of the non-BJP parties are on the Muslim votes. A large chunk of these votes has been with the Samajwadi Party but the BSP and the Congress have also got a small share while the AIMIM is the new contender on the block.
The Muslim are expected to vote enmasse for the SP in this election but it never happens as the community is influential in 143 seats in the state.
In 2007 the community voted largely for the BSP, in 2012 it was with the SP but in 2017 it got divided between the SP, Congress and the BSP.
Independent analyst Rahul Varma says," The Samajwadi Party has been getting a majority of the votes from the Muslims in UP. The 2022 assembly election is likely to become bipolar, ie, the main competition will be limited to BJP-led and SP-led alliances with other players including the BSP being reduced to the margins. It wont be surprising if the SP gets more than 75% of Muslim votes. In my view, both AIMIM or the Peace Party will have a marginal presence among Muslims."
But AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi differs as he pulls huge crowds and is quite popular among the youth of the community. He says, "Muslims now want their share in the power setup. Every community has some share in power but Muslims have been deprived and now face discrimination."
He says in his meetings attacking the SP and the Congress that there is a race between Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav to become a big Hindu so where are the secularists.
The Muslims are considered to be the second largest religious bloc and rough estimates are that their population is 20 percent but in the 2017 elections the Muslims were divided and the BJP riding on Hindutva consolidation backed by social engineering swept the polls.
Districts like Rampur, Farrukhabad and Bijnor are the areas where the Muslim population is around 40 per cent. As per rough estimates out of 143 seats in the state, there are about 73 seats where the Muslims are believed to be between 20 to 30 percent and about 40 seats where the Muslim population is more than 30 percent.
Analyst Verma says that in about 30 seats the Muslims can win on their own if their vote is not divided, while on 9 seats 55 percent are minority Muslims. There are at least 28 districts which have more than 20 percent Muslim votes and the rest of the districts have 10 to 15 percent with Rampur having the highest vote percentage of about 50 percent Muslim population.
Despite its huge population only 23 MLAs were elected in 2017 while the highest number was in 2002 at 64.