Thakurdwara bypoll holds key for future of SP, BJP

Thakurdwara bypoll holds key for future of SP, BJP

The BJP and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are of the view that the outcome of bypoll for Thakurdwara constituency in Moradabad district, which witnessed communal a flare up recently, will be a pointer to the things to come in the 2017 state Assembly elections. 

As the SP and the Congress have fielded Muslim leaders, the BJP, which had won the seat in the 2012 Assembly polls, is banking on the division of the Muslim votes, which form around 40 per cent of the total electorate in the constituency. 

“A split in the Muslim votes is almost certain. It will benefit the BJP,” Mohammed Mustakeem, a social scientist, told Deccan Herald here. 

The SP has fielded Nawab Jan, the chairman of Thakurdwara municipality, while an SP rebel Mohammed Ullah has become the Congress nominee.  Ullah is said to have a clean image and wields a considerable influence among the Muslims in the constituency and may play spoilsport in SP’s dream.

“A better performance by the Congress will only diminish the chances of the SP,” Mustakeem says. The SP, however, seems to be certain about the Muslim support as well as the backing from the “yadavs”, its traditional vote bank. It also hopes to benefit from the prevailing infighting within the local BJP.

BJP MP from Moradabad, Sarvesh Singh, the outgoing MLA from Thakurdwara, wanted the party ticket for his son. The BJP, however, did not oblige and fielded Rajpal Chauhan.

 “Irked by this, Singh and his supporters are not taking an active part in campaigning,” local saffron leaders said. The constituency has 50,000 Dalit voters. With the BSP deciding to stay away from the bypoll, their support will be crucial. BJP leaders said that the Dalits, as in the recent Lok Sabha elections, will support the saffron party. 

Thakurdwara bypoll is being viewed as a “test case” for the BJP and SP. “An SP victory will certainly signal that the Muslims have not deserted the party. While a BJP victory will indicate that the saffron party continues to enjoy the support of the non-muslim votes,” Mustakeem remarked.

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