Muslim voters' preference not clear in Rohilkhand

Muslim voters' preference not clear in Rohilkhand

While all parties pin hopes of capturing power in Uttar Pradesh on the support of the Muslim voters, the preference of the community remains unclear.

This comes even as polling in the Muslim-dominated Rohilkhand region is barely three days away.

Muslims constitute around 35 to over 50% in some of the 11 districts in Rohilkhand, where polling would be held on February 15 in the second phase. In Rampur district, the community forms 55% of the total electorate.

Muslim voters are in a position to influence the outcome in more than half of the 67 Assembly constituencies in the region.

While some strongly pitched for the Congress-SP alliance, there are many who are not averse to supporting Mayawati. There were still others who are either yet to decide or choose not to reveal their preference.

Though the alliance and the BSP have been appealing to Muslims to ensure that their votes were not divided lest it should help the BJP, the community, it seems, is not likely to vote en mass for either of the two main contenders.

“'No one party can claim full support of the Muslims. Their votes will be divided not only between the Congress-SP alliance and BSP, but may also go for strong Muslim candidates fielded by other outfits,” said Moradabad-based social scientist Mohammed Mustakeem.

Mustakeem told DH that the Muslim votes would certainly help the saffron party.
Tanveer Khan, the Congress nominee from the Shahajahanpur Assembly seat, disagrees. “Muslims are with us. There is no confusion in the community,” he said.
Salim Sultan, a resident of Rampur, said the community would take a decision a day or two before the polling.

“Usually, we decide one or two days before the polling. By then it more or less becomes clear who, among the choices, are in a stronger position,” said Sultan.

Rizvan Ahmed, who sells fruits in Faridpur near Bareilly, echoes Sultan’s views. Rizvan, a supporter of SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, said Muslims would choose Akhilesh, but asserted that there were many in his community who would opt for Mayawati.

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