Lok Sabha Elections 2024: SP, Congress To Focus On 24 ‘Muslim Seats' In Uttar Pradesh

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: SP, Congress To Focus On 24 ‘Muslim Seats' In Uttar Pradesh

With Muslims constituting 19% of UP's population, their voting behaviour is poised to influence outcomes in 24 seats with Muslims ranging from 20 to 50 per cent

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 12:46 PM IST
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Post SP-Congress deal, expectations are high as the parties are anticipating to solidify the Muslim vote bank and strengthen INDIA in 24 minority community-dominating constituencies of the Uttar Pradesh's 80 LS seats. With Muslims constituting 19% of UP's population, their voting behaviour is poised to influence outcomes in 24 seats with Muslims ranging from 20 to 50 per cent. Hence, the strategic importance of consolidating the Muslim vote bank was paramount in finalising the alliance.

Party leaders were aware a split in minority votes could potentially advantage the BJP-led NDA. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP made significant inroads by clinching victories in Muslim-dominated Rampur, Sambhal, Amroha, and Moradabad. The constituencies were previously SP and Congress strongholds. In 2019, the SP-BSP alliance secured 15 seats, a majority in Muslim-dominated western UP, including Bijnor, Amroha, Moradabad, Rampur, and Sambhal. This time, BSP supremo Mayawati has opted to contest independently, altering the electoral dynamics.

SP has fielded a substantial number of OBC candidates

The outreach to the Muslims by Congress and SP was meticulously planned during the Congress's UP Jodo Yatra and the SP's PDA Yatra; both traversed through Muslim majority districts in western and central UP. Additionally, leaders from both the parties engaged with Muslim clerics and influential members in the Rohilkhand region. Beyond securing Muslim votes, the SP-Congress alliance aims to garner support from Other Backward Classes such as Kurmi, Shakya, Saini, Maurya and Kushwaha voters.

Notably, the SP has fielded a substantial number of OBC candidates, reflecting its commitment to broader social coalition-building. The alliance is optimistic about its prospects in the Etawah-Mainpuri belt — traditionally known as the Yadav land with constituencies Firozabad, Kannauj, Etawah, Mainpuri, Etah, Farrukhabad and Mathura — where Yadavs and Muslims wield significant influence. Despite past challenges, including internal dissent within the Yadav family, the alliance is buoyed by the recent inclusion of Shivpal Yadav and the Congress, bolstering its electoral prospects in the region.

Mayawati's independent stance

Nonetheless, concerns loom over Mayawati's independent stance, which could potentially lead to a three-way contest and divide the antiBJP vote share. Observers predict while the SP-Congress alliance is likely to attract a considerable chunk of Muslim voters, the BSP's solo venture may disrupt their electoral calculus, especially with its appeal to the Dalit-Muslim constituency. Further, the SP faces an uphill task of a balanced ticket distribution to accommodate OBCs, Dalits and Muslims, reflecting the intricate caste dynamics at play.

In key Muslim-dominated Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Rampur, Sambhal, Amroha constituencies, religious demographics play a significant role in shaping electoral outcomes. As the electoral landscape takes shape, the battle for UP intensifies, with each political entity vying to consolidate its support base amid shifting alliances and electoral arithmetic.

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