Muslims in Uttar Pradesh appear to have heavily voted for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), deserting the ruling Samajwadi Party, assembly election trends on Friday showed.
According to political pundits, BSP had made major gains in 22 constituencies heavily populated by Muslims- 12 more than in the outgoing assembly.
The Samajwadi Party was in the lead only in 13 such constituencies, 11 less than the previous election in 2002.
Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was likely to win in 16 Muslim populated seats- a gain of two seats over 2002.
Political analysts attributed Mayawati's gains in Uttar Pradesh, where her party could end up with 180 seats in the 403-member assembly, to Muslims and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) on top of the existing Dalit support base.
"It looks like Mayawati has made considerable gains in places where Muslims and non-Yadav OBCs dominate. A smaller per cent of Brahmins have also helped BSP," Congress general secretary BK Hariprasad said.