No Consolidated Reason For Hindu Polarisation
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.
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