Friday, February 6, 2009

Muslims and the drag-n-drop game

February 3, 2009
By Dilip Awasthi
The drag and drop technique is surely much more handy in present day politics than in computers. Drag hordes in from the rival camp and drop them high and dry after pocketing their votes. Muslims have faced this more than any voting bloc in the recent times. As the political parties go in the final leg of preparations for the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, Muslims this time may be probing for more options.

Mulayam Singh’s clarification on Monday on Babri Masjid demolition and Kalyan Singh apart, the Muslim vote bank looks up for the grabs for all and sundry. For the first time since 1992, the Muslim community looks uncertain about its safe haven – the SP. Post Mulayam Singh-Kalyan Singh bear hug, the SP does not seem to be their unquestioned political bastion anymore.

The Muslim vote bloc unflinchingly has stuck to Mulayam Singh and his party ever since 1989 and till 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Despite adverse speculations at the hustings, Muslims have always turned in almost en bloc for the SP on the D-day. Their percentages in favour of bicycle symbol have been as high as 65-70 in 1993 and 1996 assembly elections. However, in 2002 Vidhan Sabha elections, the percentage went down to around 55 as BSP also positioned itself to share the cake. .

What Muslims have meant for the SP is clearly reflected by the statistics. In 2002 elections, of the 118 assembly seats where Muslims form 15% or more electorate, the SP won 28 seats, BSP 16, the BJP as backlash 19 seats and the Congress just six seats. Another important indicator is the Rohilkhand region having 50 seats where Muslims comprise at least 25% electorate in most seats. The SP won 21 seats against 10 of BJP and nine of BSP in 2002, 15 against 21 of BJP and five of BSP in 1996 and 16 against 24 of BJP and none of BSP in 1993. The Congress won three, five and three seats respectively in this region in the three elections. In the 2004 Lok Sabha election, the SP won three of the four seats in this region against BJP’s one seat. The BSP drew a blank but polled 26.98% votes against SP’s 32.15%.

SP’s charisma for Muslims seemed weaning out in 2007 assembly elections as BSP virtually ran a rout. Of the 118 Vidhan Sabha seats with 15% or more Mulsim votes
BSP won 34 seats, followed by SP’s 20, BJP’s 10 and four of Congress. Similarly of the
50 Rohilkhand seat BSP won 25, followed by merely 13 of SP, eight of BJP and one of Congress. Estimates indicate that by winning 206 seats in 2007, the BSP cornered nearly 45% Muslim votes in the state whereas SP could manage just 97 seats and could get support of 31% Muslims.

A fragmented Muslim community still would have enough lure for political parties in the impending Lok Sabha elections. Though its capacity to swing fortunes stands eroded, but in the light of Mulayam-Kalyan bonhomie, the BSP and Congress have every reason to smile in anticipation. The biggest fear, which Muslims would have from Mayawati, is her past record specially of joining hands with the BJP twice for coming to power. This is still a distinct possibility after the 2009 Lok Sabha results as Mayawati has distanced herself from the Congress and the BJP might need her again in case it comes close to forming a government at the centre. Muslims grudge that she had campaigned for Modi in Gujrat in 2002 elections. SP’s Azam Khan on March 31, 2007 also accused her for calling Muslims “traitors” in a rally in Roorkee in September, 1993. The SP also claimed to have video evidence to this effect.

On the other hand the next possible option is a beleaguered Congress, which does not look like winning many Lok Sabha seats. Muslims traditionally prefer backing any secular winning option against the BJP. With the BJP itself being on a weak wicket in U.P., the Muslim vote bank is likely to be in quite a disarray in the coming Lok Sabha election. All the three parties - SP, BSP and Congress may play the ``drag-n-drop’’ game with them this time on.


Shashank R said...

But how do you calculate how Muslims voted? There is no documentary evidence in the voting records so how can you attribute percentages to voting?

aaccording said...

Ganesh Naik orders the rehabilitation of street vendors.
Labour and Enviornment Minsiter Ganesh Naik has ordered the proper rehabilitation of an estimation of an estimated hawkers who have been displaced by the ongoing work of Sanpada-Palm Beach Flyover.
Among those who have lost theirs means of livelihood were vegetable vendors and some women’s self help groups. On 10 January, they went with their grievances to labour minister Ganesh Naik immediately directed NMMC that the affected persons be provided with a suitable plot where they can continue their businesses.

Anonymous said...

Guardian Ganesh Naik takes up cause of Vashi home owners
Thane District Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik has agreed to intervene and find an amicable solution to the burning issue of illegal extensions in row houses of sector 6, 7 and 8 in Vashi. The decision came after some residents approached the minister for help. Naik is expected to hold a meeting with both aggrieved residents of the row houses and officials of the NMMC in the next two days to resolve the matter, sources confirmed.
This has brought some relief to residents of these row houses who have been spending sleepless nights ever since NMMC began the survey and started issuing notices to families, who had extended their properties.