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Muslims in West UP repose faith in Mayawati

With BJP sweeping Western UP in assembly polls and SP, Congress contesting municipal polls separately, Muslims in Western UP have reposed their faith back in Mayawati.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 04, 2017, 09.28 AM IST
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BSP had lost big time in Western UP in the 2017 assembly polls in the state - with its Dalit vote base splitting for BJP while its Muslim vote base preferring the SP-Congress combine.
BSP had lost big time in Western UP in the 2017 assembly polls in the state - with its Dalit vote base splitting for BJP while its Muslim vote base preferring the SP-Congress combine.
NEW DELHI: Muslims in Western Uttar Pradesh (UP) seem to be gravitating back to Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from the camp of the Samajwadi Party (SP), helping Mayawati win two key mayor seats in Aligarh and Meerut and narrowly losing the seat in Saharanpur in the recently concluded municipal polls.

BSP had lost big time in its traditional stronghold of Western UP in the 2017 assembly polls in the state - with its Dalit vote base splitting for the BJP while its Muslim vote base apparently preferring the SP-Congress combine. With BJP sweeping Western UP in the assembly polls and SP and Congress contesting the municipal polls separately, Muslims in Western UP seem to have reposed their faith back in Mayawati. The BSP supremo on Saturday also publicly acknowledged the Muslim support to her in the polls.

BSP's Mohd Fukran won the Aligarh Mayor seat with 1.25 lakh votes, defeating the BJP candidate by 10000 votes. The SP's Muslim candidate Mujahid Kidwai and the Congress candidate lost their deposits on this seat. This defeat was an embarrassment for the BJP as Kalyan Singh's grandson Sandeep Kumar Singh is a Minister and MLA from Atrauli in Aligarh while Aligarh city seat is also held by BJP. The Aligarh MP is also from BJP. Both the UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP state president M.N. Pandey blamed the Aligarh loss to "certain equations" on the seat, alluding to the Muslim population for the BSP.

Similarly on the Meerut Mayor seat, where the local MP and MLAs are all from BJP, BSPs Sunita Verma won by over 30000 votes over her BJP competitor by bagging 2.35 lakh votes. The SP and Congress candidates got just 47000 and 29000 votes respectively and lost their deposits. On the Saharanpur Mayor seat, BSP's Fazul Ul Rehman lost the seat by just 2000 votes to the BJP candidate but polled 1.19 lakh votes. SP lost its deposits on this seat as well. BSP also sprung a surprise by winning the Chairman, Nagar Palika Parishad elections from both the Deoband and Nakur seats in Saharanpur district which have a heavy presence of Muslims.

The BSP also finished second in the Agra Mayor seat, getting 1.44 lakh votes while the SP with 50000 votes lost its deposit on this seat as well. In Jhansi too, BSP finished at second place while SP and Congress lost their deposits. This performance could be a shot in the arm for the BSP before crucial parliamentary by-polls in Phulpur and Gorakhpur, an upcoming assembly by-poll in Sikandara in Kanpur on December 21 and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. BSP won only 19 seats in 2017 assembly polls, down 61 seats and had failed to win even a single seat in the 2014 LS polls.
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