Minorities

Muslims representation in UP assembly reduced to 24 from 69 MLAs, Muslim population 19 %

March 12, 2017 06:17 PM
Muslims present in BJP rallies in Up

LUCKNOW: In Uttar Pradesh where Muslims comprise 19% of the population, the number from the minority community in the House has declined to 24. It's a marked difference from the 2012 polls when 69 Muslims MLAs entered the legislature.

The perception that Muslims vote en bloc, and tactically, is one that BJP seems to have used to its advantage, though the jury is out on whether the landslide is due to fatigue with regional parties or an expression of Hindu polarisation.



In a state where Muslims are a sizeable vote bank, BJP did not field a single Muslim in the 403 seats. Muslims have a strong presence in west UP, Rohilkhand, Terai and east UP, and they, along with Yadavs and Dalits, have been the core vote bank of Congress, SP and BSP. This social arithmetic traditionally made them key in candidate selection.

 Fewer Muslims on the victory podium indicates that the community's voting preference against BJP was offset by a bigger consolidation of Hindu castes in what is known as reverse polarisation.

A key objective of SP's decision to ally with Congress was to consolidate the Muslim votes. The fear was that the Muslim votes would split between SP and BSP, and help BJP sneak through.

 The campaign was not bereft of BJP's usual tactics to appeal to communal sentiments. PM Modi stirred things up with his and `Ramzan vs Diwali' comments, implying unfair treatment to Hindus by SP.

The perception that Muslims vote en bloc, and tactically, is one that BJP seems to have used to its advantage, though the jury is out on whether the landslide is due to fatigue with regional parties or an expression of Hindu polarisation.

 

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