‘Division’ in Muslim votes helps BJP paint West U.P. saffron - Hindustan Times
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‘Division’ in Muslim votes helps BJP paint West U.P. saffron

ByS Raju
May 13, 2023 10:46 PM IST

This division of Muslim votes took place despite a nine-km-long roadshow of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in the old Meerut city area.

MEERUT As Muslim votes got divided among parties like Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), it got easy for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to sweep the mayoral elections in the western part of Uttar Pradesh.

Division of votes among Muslim voters in Moradabad also set the stage for victory of BJP candidate. (HT Photo)
Division of votes among Muslim voters in Moradabad also set the stage for victory of BJP candidate. (HT Photo)

Taking everyone by surprise, AIMIM candidate Anas received 1,28,547 votes in Meerut, which was way more than 12,583 votes of Samajwadi Party candidate Seem Pradhan, who secured 1,15,964 votes. Meanwhile, BSP candidate Hasmat Ali received 54,076 votes. This division in votes of Muslims paved the way for a thumping victory of BJP candidate Harikant Ahluwali, who received 2,35 953 votes and defeated AIMIM’s candidate by a margin of 1,07,406 votes.

This division of Muslim votes took place despite a nine-km-long roadshow of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in the old city area. The division in Muslim votes was expected because party’s Muslim voters were annoyed with the decision of giving ticket to Seema Pradhan, who is a Gurjar. Notably, the city has only about 22,000-24,000 Gurjar voters.

A party leader, on the condition of anonymity, said that the city has more than four lakh Muslim voters and therefore, party’s city MLA Rafeeq Ansari had demanded ticket for his wife. However, the SP brass chose Seema. The SP leader added that Akhilesh Yadav was aware about the annoyance of Muslim leaders and therefore, he even visited the house of Ansari after his road show. Nevertheless, his efforts could not salvage the loss of Muslims votes in favour of AIMIM candidate Anas.

A similar story situation occurred in Saharanpur where stalwart Muslim leader Imran Masood, who is now in the BSP, secured ticket for his cousin’s wife Khadija Masood from the Mayawati-led party. On the other hand, BJP fielded a non-political and practicing doctor Ajay Kumar. In his support, chief minister Yogi Adityanath kicked off his campaign for civic polls from here and urged people to support Kumar.

BJP candidate Ajay Kumar received 1,54,879 votes and defeated Khadija Masood by a thin margin of 8,097 votes. She received 1,46,781 votes. Muslims largely voted for Masood. SP’s Noor Hasan got only 22,036 votes.

Division of votes among Muslim voters in Moradabad also set the stage for victory of BJP candidate Vinod Agarwal in the mayoral contest. He defeated Congress candidate Mohd Rizwan by a thin margin of 3,589 votes. Agarwal received 1,21,475 votes. BSP’s Mohd Yameen bagged 15,845 votes and SP candidate Raisuddin received 13,741 votes.

The 12 districts -- Meerut, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Baghpat, Saharanpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Sambhal, Rampur, Moradabad, and Amroha -- of the region in western U.P. has three mayoral seats, 230 seats of councillors in wards, 71 seats of nagar parishad chief, 1,444 seats for nagar parishad members, 79 seats of nagar panchayat chief and 1,078 seats for nagar panchayat members.

Political expert Jamshed Zaidi observed that the division among Muslim voters and AIMIM candidate’s success in getting votes more than Samajwadi Party candidate Seema could be a cause of concern. He added that civic body elections and assembly elections are two different things and victory in civic polls could be affected by multiple issues. However, the way electors have voted is a clear indication that Akhilesh Yadav should give a serious thought of joining hands with Congress to ensure defeat of BJP in the forthcoming elections.

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