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Samajwadi Party Power Struggle in UP a Worry For Muslims

Representative image. Photo: Reuters

Representative image. Photo: Reuters

The power struggle between Mulayam Singh Yadav and in the Samajwadi Party has become a cause of concern for the Muslim community in Uttar Pradesh.

New Delhi: The power struggle between Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav in the Samajwadi Party has become a cause of concern for the Muslim community in Uttar Pradesh.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati recently cautioned the Muslim community about not “splitting” their vote – something that is a cause of concern for the community leadership as well.

With Muslim constituting 18% of the population in the state, political parties are scrambling to take advantage of SP’s mess.

Muslims in the state overwhelmingly vote for SP but the crisis can bring a dent in that base, fears SP MLA Zameer Ullah Khan.

He told News 18, “The formation of two camps has sent a wrong signal to the community and now they are thinking that if the family can’t be together then how can it defeat the fascist forces? The father-son duo has to be united to form the next government with Akhilesh as CM.”

In his opinion, Muslims have not forgotten the way Mulayam worked for the minority community and stood against communalism in the 90s. "SP will work best when the family is together,” he said.

The problem of “votes splitting” is worrying community leaders as well with many waiting for things to settle down to make any decision. One of them is the Shia cleric Kalbe Jawad, convenor of Majlis-e-Ulema-e Hind, an outfit of Muslim ulemas who believe in Sufi thought. They have been working on Shia-Sufi-Sunni Muslim alliance for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in 2017.

Jawad said, “The situation is different from the past ones. None of the parties have done anything for the development of the community – neither Akhilesh nor Mulayam. Who has worked for the progress of Muslims? No one. Nothing can be said right now, as things are uncertain and also there is time for elections.”

“In the mean time there will be a meeting of 1000 ulemas under the banner of Majlis-e-Ulema-e Hind and decision shall be taken by all of us on the right leader for us. The only thing we are going to consider is development,” he added.

When asked by News18 what he meant by ‘Sufi’, he said, “Anyone who believes in the true tenets of Islam is a Sufi, who oppose wahabi ideology.”

The meetings will also focus on avoiding a split of votes and bringing about the consolidation of votes. There are 2,200 ulemas with this outfit across India.

Maulana Khalid Rasheed, Farangi Mahli from Lucknow, will also be visiting mosques and addressing the Muslims to avoid any split of votes before polls. He said that he does not believe in making open declarations on "choice of vote" as it leads to polarization that benefits the communal parties but subtly spreads the message.

The feud or split in the SP is not very likely to affect the Muslim vote base, he believes. “The SP crisis will not affect the Muslim vote base if a Bihar like alliance can happen in Uttar Pradesh. If Congress and SP come together they will get the minority community’s votes,” he told News18.

The focus of the community leaders is on voting in a government that works for security and employment of Muslim youth, he said. “There are 60% Muslim youths in the state and our primary concern is to have a government that works for their security and employment,” he added.

When asked about a split in Muslims votes in UP, Aftab Alam, a professor of Aligarh Muslim University, said, “Muslims do not vote en bloc but have different choices, many studies have proved that. They vote for development and have issues on their mind as well.”

"Their votes are consolidated on the grounds of defeating fascist forces though,” he added.

Speaking on the crisis in the SP family, Alam said, “Akhilesh is the future while Mulayam is the past – the son has no charges of corruption, has brought about development projects. He has a lot of promise. Rest time will tell.”

first published:January 03, 2017, 19:33 IST