WITH EXTREMELY poor response of Muslims to both, the UP United Democratic Front (UPUDF) of Delhi Jama Masjid Imam Ahmad Bukhari and the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), the “Assam model” has failed to take off in UP.
While after the resignation of Maulana Kalbe Jawad from the PDF chairmanship there is no taker of this front, the UPUDF has been struggling for survival because of non-acceptability of controversial Bukhari. Even though Bukhari claims to have succeeded in mobilising the community, ground realities are quite different. The vociferous opposition of the Jamiat-Ulema Hind (JUH) to the UDF because of Bukhari has further put spoke in his game plan. Even the powerful All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) was not favourably disposed towards the fronts. Thus the Muslim Ulema (clerics) plan for the trading of the community’s votes appears to have failed to yield a positive result.
Since politics is no longer a taboo for the Ulema, they had been cleverly trying to mix religion with politics to retain their stranglehold on the community. Encouraged by limited success of Badruddin Ajmal in Assam Assembly election, in which Assam UDF had won nine seats, the UP clerics also tried to replicate the Assam experiment. But success seems to be farfetched.
By and large, Muslims in UP have been supporting the Samajwadi Party, BSP, Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal. Emergence of Muslim fronts had led to the feeling in the political circles that there could be migration from these parties. The Jan Morcha Alliance of former Prime Minister VP Singh had also veered round to the view that Muslim fronts would make its job of making dent into the SP vote bank easier.
Interestingly while the clerics fought among themselves for their pound of flesh the community simply watched the whole unfolding drama.
Bukhari, known for hobnobbing with political parties in the past, has been trying to project himself as the sole arbitrator of Muslims in the state, which has not gone down well with UP Muslims. The motives of all the clerics are also suspected in the eyes of the common Muslims. While clerics have been trying to win over support the people have been making efforts to decipher the hand of political parties behind each cleric.
“Who is working for whom”, is the question doing round in the community. These fronts have only few leaders but no cadre, which is essential for enlarging the base.