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Saffron Sweep in UP Hints at Muslims Voting for BJP in Large Numbers

Eram Agha |

Updated: March 11, 2017, 8:25 PM IST
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Saffron Sweep in UP Hints at Muslims Voting for BJP in Large Numbers
Shaista Amber, president All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board/File photo

New Delhi: Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh could have voted in significant numbers for the BJP, endorsing its stand on issues like women’s rights, president All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board Lucknow Shaista Amber told News18.

“It is quite likely that Muslims have voted for the BJP. Considering the fact that they took the stand for Muslim women rights I won’t be surprised if some sections have shown favor with the party,” Amber said.

“Muslims are known for tactical voting. But this time the community has voted for issues,” Amber, a major critic of the practice of Triple Talaq, told News18. The BJP-government at the Centre had recently submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court saying the system violates fundamental rights of Muslim women.

“The vote has been cast for dignity of Muslims, who don’t want to live like second class citizens and want employment, opportunities for themselves. The parties have so far only promised but not delivered – it appears Muslims have given BJP a chance to do something for them,” she said.

BJP on Saturday swept Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections defying all predictions of a tight three-cornered with SP-Congress alliance and BSP. Both the alliance and BSP were hoping to net Muslim votes, but the absolute nature of the sweep – BJP was leading in 310 out of the 402 seats – indicate that the community is undergoing a rethink vis-à-vis its stand towards BJP.

Muslims constitute 19% of UP’s population and is the single largest block after Dalits.

In Kanpur, noted academic AK Varma from the Centre for the Study of Society and Politics seem to agree with Amber.

“This kind of mandate is not possible without the votes from Muslims,” he said.

Varma pointed out that while conducting surveys for his think tank in Uttar Pradesh he saw Muslim women showing support for the BJP. “It was a surprise for us to note that the young Muslim girls were vocal about their support to BJP and that was because of the triple talaq issue. The party wants to ban that practice and it has worked for the party in some way,” he said.

“Modi’s inclusive politics has been accepted by all – even if there were communal or disturbing events the PM Narendra Modi disowned all of that,” he said.

Varma said the media missed BJP’s experiment in Mewat, where the party selected 100 Muslims dominated villages and tried to address their problems, gave them attention and tried to solve them. “That outreach also helped. In Fatehpur we saw the Muslim population giving BJP the mandate, including the the karigars and ansaris in the state. Also in notebandi was seen an attack on the rich and pro-poor.”

Professor Asmer Beg of the Aligarh Muslim University, also the Co-ordinator for Centre for Study of Developing Societies in Uttar Pradesh, said he was not surprised to know if Muslims have given their votes for BJP.

“It is very likely that Muslims have voted for the BJP and it is no surprise because the data shows that in 2014 Lok Sabha elections 10% Muslims voted for BJP,” he said.

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