Mulayam to woo Muslims to counter Modi factor

Mulayam to woo Muslims to counter Modi factor

In an apparent bid to counter Narendra Modi, who could be the prime ministerial face for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is going all-out to ensure a “polarisation” of Muslim votes in his party's favour at several seats in western Uttar Pradesh.

Realising well that the Muslim votes could be decisive in many constituencies in the western part of the state and a polarisation  ensured victory for contestants from his party, Mulayam recently replaced several candidates with Muslim nominees.

Barely a couple of days ago, the SP had cancelled the tickets of its four nominees, all from the western region, whose names had figured in its earlier list, and instead named Muslim candidates from there.

The SP cancelled the nomination of former RLD leader Anuradha Chaudhary from Bijnore and replaced her with Amir Alam.

Similarly, Zafar Naqvi has been fielded from the Aligarh constituency, replacing the wife of a sitting party legislator.

The party has fielded Muslim candidates from Meerut, Saharanpur, Sambhal, Moradabad, Kairana, Amorha and Bareilly. Muslims comprise a sizeable chunk of the population in all these constituencies, and the party did not want division of Muslim votes.

“We will like to see a polarisation of the Muslim votes in case Narendra Modi takes the centre stage,” said a party leader here. The SP had suffered owing to the division of Muslim votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and hence had failed to register its presence in the region. “We do not want to repeat that mistake,” the leader said.
The SP faces a tough task when it comes to keeping its Muslim vote-bank intact.

Recurring communal riots, the exit of Bukhari and the killing of a Muslim DSP have triggered a sharp resentment among Muslims in the state.