Muslim political outfits in Uttar Pradesh are trying to forge a grand alliance of like-minded secular parties ahead of the 2017 assembly elections.
Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, who heads All India Ittehad Milli Council (AIIMC) said recently that they want to replicate the Bihar and Bengal model in UP and he has already held informal talks with Hydrabad-based Majlis-eIttehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) of Asaduddin Owaisi, Qaumi Ekta Dal of Mukhtar Ansari and Peace Party of India led by Dr Ayyub.
Apart from a tacit political tie-up with the Congress, these leaders are in touch with Janata Dal United of Nitish Kumar and other regional satraps like ousted BSP leaders Swami Prasad Maurya, Babu Singh Kushwaha, who are yet to float their own outfits,
“Our target is clear this time. It’s neither the SP, BSP nor the Congress. We have to stop the march of communal forces and prevent them from coming to power in UP. We will announce the mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in August,” points out Afzal Ansari of Qaumi Ekta Dal. He says the alliance’s aim would be to win at least 100 seats so that no party is able to form a government without their support.
Muslims account for 19.30% of the population in UP and their vote can sway the outcome in 38 districts. Last week, a motley group of nine smaller and little known Muslim political outfits had announced a joint front under the banner of ‘Ittehad Front.’
“We have decided to raise religious, social and economic issues affecting the Muslim community in the upcoming assembly elections. The governing council of the Front would organise rallies in various cities to jointly mobilise support,” informs coordinator of the Front Mohammad Suleiman. The parties that have decided to come on a common platform include Peace Party, Indian National League, Awami Vikas Party, Indian Union Muslim League, Muslim Majlis, Parcham Party, Rashtriye Ulema Council, SDPI and Welfare Front of India.
But both Ansari of QED and Maulana Raza of AIIMC feel that such a formation will only lead to division of Muslim vote, is counter-productive and will help ‘communal forces’ (read BJP). They allege that some of these little-known Muslim outfits are propped up by the BJP to give inflammatory statements to polarise the electorate on communal lines and consolidate Hindu vote. This is something which happened in 2014 parliamentary elections in 2014, they point out.