No Con­sol­i­dated Rea­son For Hindu Po­lar­i­sa­tion

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics Counter -

mi­nor­ity ap­pease­ment by the UP govt, Muz­za­far­na­gar ri­ots, Azam Khan’s re­marks, or a mix of all these?

Was it the so-called mi­nor­ity ap­pease­ment by the Akhilesh Ya­dav gover nment, the Muz­zaf a r na g a r r i o t s, Azam Khan’s re­marks, or a mix of all the three that led to the con­sol­i­da­tion in Hindu votes in Ut­tar Pradesh? The out­come of elec­tions from Ut­tar Pradesh was un­prece­dented. The BJP got more than 42% of the votes, and that trans­lated into 71 seats for the party – its part­ner Apna Dal got an­other two – sur­pass­ing even the Ram Mandir wave. While Hin­dus con­sol­i­dated around the BJP, the votes of the 19% Mus­lims seem to have been di­vided among the Sa­ma­jwadi Party, Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party and the Congress. The BJP won in all the seven Lok Sabha con­stituen­cies in UP where Mus­lims rep­re­sent more than 40% of the elec­torate – Sa­ha­ran­pur, Am­roha, S r awasti , Bi j nore, Muz­za­far­na­gar, Mo­rad­abad and Ram­pur – and this in­di­cates the ex­tent of the counter po­lar­iza­tion in Hindu votes. Ram­pur is the home­town of Khan, SP’s most prom­i­nent Mus­lim leader and pow­er­ful min­is­ter, and an SP strong­hold. But, BJP’s Dr Nepal Singh won even with­out much cam­paign­ing. “Khan’s po­lar­is­ing per­son­al­ity was a fac­tor in these elec­tions. Es­pe­cially his com­ments that it was Mus­lim soldiers who won the Kargill war. Even in days of com­pet­i­tive pol­i­tics, lead­ers tend to avoid nam­ing the Army and other such in­sti­tu­tions on caste and re­li­gious lines,” said Prof Sud­hir Pan­war of Luc­know Univer­sity. While he also cited the SP govern­ment’s poli­cies like giv­ing Rs 30,000 for the mar­riage of Mus­lim girls, Pan­war said the Muz­za­far­na­gar ri­ots were an­other big fac­tor that tur ned Hin­dus more to­wards the BJP. The BJP used the ri­ots to build up sup­port in cor­ners of the state, he added. The ri­ots be­came one of the big­gest is­sues, with the Akhilesh Ya­dav govern­ment in the state re­ceiv­ing se­vere crit­i­cism over its han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion. Im­me­di­ately af­ter the ri­ots, the govern­ment went all out to woo the Mus­lim com­mu­nity as part of its dam­age con­trol ex­er­cise. While the west UP ri­ots were con­fined to only a few districts, the state­ments over it led to a re­ac­tion across the state.

HUGE SWING

And, it was not just the SP that fo­cused on the Mus­lim votes. The BSP gave 19 tick­ets to Mus­lims – the high­est by any party – in­clud­ing to riot ac­cused sit­ting MP from Muz­za­far nag ar Kadir Rana. Congress leader So­nia Gandhi’s meet­ing with Shahi Imam where she re­port­edly ap­pealed for non­di­vi­sion of Mus­lim votes also likely led to di­vid­ing the elec­torate on re­li­gious lines, Pan­war said. “On one hand three ma­jor par­ties in UP were seen to be ag­gres­sively woo­ing only the mi­nori­ties, and on the other you had the BJP, the lone one woo­ing the ma­jor­ity com­mu­nity” he added.

While Hin­dus con­sol­i­dated around the BJP, the votes of the seem to have been di­vided among the SP, BSP & the Congress BJP won in all the seven Lok Sabha con­stituen­cies in UP where Mus­lims rep­re­sent more than of the elec­torate SP govt’s poli­cies like giv­ing

for the mar­riage of Mus­lim girls and Muz­za­far­na­gar ri­ots big fac­tors in turn­ing Hin­dus more to­wards the BJP

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