UP elections: BSP woos Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, gets backing of clerics
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Lucknow: Failing to revive its tested “social engineering” formula which saw it victorious in the 2007 Uttar Pradesh polls, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is going all out to woo Muslims through various clerics and organisations for regaining power.
In 2007, BSP had notched up the magic mark all by itself riding on social engineering which helped it garner support of other sections of society as well besides its core vote bank among the Dalits. This time, however, in the wake of a stiff challenge posed by Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance, which has presented a viable alternative both to Muslims and backwards, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is banking on polarisation to gain support of Hindus, especially upper castes, BSP has come up with the plan to get Muslim leadership and clergy to extend support to woo minorities.
In the past couple of days, BSP leadership has been successful in roping in Rashtriya Ulema Council led by Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madani, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Maulana Ahmed Bukhari, noted Shia cleric and member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and Ulema and Mashiakh Board of Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichachauvi as well as AMU Students Union to extend support for sending a message among the Muslims.
BSP chief Mayawati has been concertedly telling the minorities that voting for the SP-Congress alliance will go in vain and it will willy-nilly help BJP. “BSP is the only viable alternative before Muslims as it alone can check BJP... SP is a divided house and both Akhilesh and Shivpal factions will harm each other in the polls and so voting for the SP-Congress alliance will only help BJP,” has been her refrain during her campaign.
But since Muslims have a pattern of voting for the party which is strongest to defeat BJP, SP-Congress alliance has given hope to them much to the discomfiture of BSP. After having fielded 99 Muslim candidates — a record high for the party — and basing its gameplan to a large extent on the Dalit-Muslim plank, BSP does not want to leave anything to chance and so it has been working overtime to win over Muslim leaders and clerics, analysts say. PTI