Ever since his party stormed to power in Uttar Pradesh in the recently concluded Assembly polls, riding on support from the Muslim community, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been working overtime to protect his Muslim vote bank to reap rich electoral harvest in the 2014 general elections.
The party sends 80 members to Lok Sabha.
During the last five months, Mulayam has done everything to woo Muslims by giving them berths in the state Legislative Council and promising them security and Waqf properties.
Mulayam has had a series of meetings with clerics, both from Shia and Sunni communities, since the government was formed.
He has also been attacking the Congress for allegedly not implementing recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission and the Sachar Committee.
‘Won’t betray trust’
“Under no circumstances, we will betray the trust the community has put in us. We will implement the recommendations in the state,” Mulayam told a group of Muslim clerics a few days back.
“Muslim votes will prove to be a deciding factor in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls,” said a senior SP leader.
“There is an apprehension that Muslims may turn to the Congress in case the BJP projects Gurjarat chief minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate,” he asserted.
The SP government has started several measures for the welfare of the community, and the same was also evident in the budget for the current financial year.
The government had hiked the allocation for minority welfare by a whopping 81 per cent compared to last year.
It also announced a series of measures, including financial assistance for marriage of girls and maintenance of graveyards, to help the Muslim community.
“Mulayam’s prime ministerial ambition will hinge largely on how his party fares in UP.
If he is able to win a big chunk of the 80 seats, he may become a potential candidate in case both Congress and BJP led alliances fail to secure absolute majority,” the SP leader pointed out.
Muslims, who constitute around 20 per cent of the state’s electorate, play a decisive role in 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.