Mayawati may upset SP-RLD’s Jat-Muslim calculus in UP polls
The ticket distribution strategy of BSP president Mayawati in the UP Assembly elections is likely to upset the vaunted Jat–Muslim calculus of alliance partners SP and RLD, especially in Western UP. So far, BSP has given tickets to 39 Muslims out of the total 109 candidates announced by the party for the first two phases of the UP polls.
The ticket distribution strategy of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Assembly elections is likely to upset the vaunted Jat–Muslim calculus of alliance partners Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), especially in Western UP.
So far, BSP has given tickets to 39 Muslims out of the total 109 candidates announced by the party for the first two phases of the UP polls.
This pegs the percentage of tickets given by BSP to Muslims at 36 per cent in the first two phases, which would cover the western UP districts, which have a sizable population of the minority community.
Since the SP-RLD combine is looking to consolidate the Jat and Muslim bloc in the Western UP region, the BSP gameplan could get the better of the pre-poll alliance by fielding strong candidates from the minority community in as many crucial seats.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has always benefited from the division of minority votes. Therefore, any credible split in the Muslim votes could decide the winnability factor in several constituencies in closely-fought contests.
For example, in its second list of 51 candidates for the second phase of UP elections released by the BSP on Saturday, the party fielded 23 Muslims, followed by Other Backward Classes (OBC) 13, Jats 10 and upper castes 5. Some of the Muslim candidates include Mohd Naved Ayaz from Amroha, Shadab Khan from Naugaon Sadat, Sadakat Hussain from Rampur and Shakeel Ahmad Qureshi from Sambhal.
In the first list of 58 candidates, BSP had included 16 Muslim candidates. In contrast, the SP-RLD has given tickets to only 13 candidates of the minority community.
According to political analysts, although the BSP share of seats had dwindled thick and fast over the past assembly and parliamentary elections in UP, yet its core vote share has not eroded much.
While the BJP, SP and Congress have been firing on all cylinders and hogging the media space through hyped events and social media presence, the BSP is silently working on its poll strategy of candidate selection and working at the booth and cadre level. Mayawati could well turn out to be a silent slayer in the 2022 UP elections.
While the SP-RLD alliance has also given tickets to Muslim candidates, there have been voices of dissent at the choice of candidates in some constituencies. This could possibly harm their prospects if the BJP plays up such sentiments during canvassing before votes are polled.
The opposition parties are hoping to cash in on the recent farm protests and the Jat community's perceptible anger against the ruling dispensation in the 2022 UP polls.
In this regard, the SP-RLD bloc was formed as a viable outlet for the Western UP constituencies to vent their ire against the BJP at the hustings. However, this hypothesis would require that the Muslim and Jat votes do not split and vote en bloc to the SP-RLD nominees.
The UP Assembly elections will be held in seven rounds in February and March 2022 on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 and March 3 and 7.