By Raza Elahi
The 2012 UP polls saw a usual scramble among all parties to woo Muslims, who can tilt the balance in 140 of the total 403 assembly constituencies. Unlike previous elections (say post-1989), when Muslim votes got divided, this time the community has voted sensibly. And thus the outcome: 69 Muslim MLAs, highest since the Independence.
Out of the 69 Muslim candidates who won, 43 belong to the SP. The party had fielded 78 Muslim candidates. The BSP, which gave tickets to 85 Muslim candidates, could get 16 seats. Among other Muslim MLAs, two belong to Congress, 3 to Peace Party (of Dr Mohd Ayub), 2 to Quami Ekta Dal (floated by Afzal Ansari) and three Independents.
RESULTS PATTERN: The Muslims largely voted in favour of SP, which helped the party to comfortably cross the magic figure. Results of the 140 constituencies, where Muslims are over 30% of population, show that SP won 72 seats, while BSP and Congress got 27 and 11 seats respectively.
INTERESTING MISS: Muslim-dominate Saharanpur failed to send any Muslim MLA to the Assembly. Mohd Umar, son-in-law of Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari, lost from Behat in Saharanpur district.
QUICK COMMENT: Muslim voters in UP have realised the strength of their votes. They have preferred SP over Congress and BSP in a larger perspective, but also voted constituency-wise to increase their Muslim representatives in the Assembly. They have shown that no party can take them for granted.
LESSON & CHALLENGE: It is a lesson for Congress that 'crocodile tears' won't work and challenge for SP that promises are not made to break.