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Mayawati warns Muslims: Akhilesh vs Mulayalam will bring BJP to power

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kumari Mayawati has warned Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh against continuing to vote for Samajwadi Party, claiming that the current fight between SP leader Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh would split their votes in two.

“I urge you not to let your vote get divided between Akhilesh and Mulayalam groups. If you do that, the benefit will directly go to the BJP,” Mayawati said today.

To drive home the point, Mayawati said she has allocated 97 candidates out of the total 403 candidates to the Muslim community, while she gave only 87 seats to Dalits — her key backers.

She said if Muslims vote for her party, together with BSP’s Dalit vote base, her party would get 22-23% of the votes in many Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, allowing the party to win.

She sought to correct the impression that Yadavs — who form the foundation of Samajwadi Party’s vote base — could prove to be a strong ally for Muslims in the coming UP elections.

“Unlike (our) Dalit vote base, Yadav votes (of the SP) will be spit between the two camps. Either way, Yadav votes are crucial in only 60-70 seats out of the 403 seats, while Dalit votes are present across the state,” she said.

COMPOSITION

Mayawati took steps to refute the allegation that her party was biased towards Dalits, and pointed out that less than a quarter of the seats have been allocated to Dalits.

A total of 106 seats were allocated to OBCs — who comprise about half of the total population.

Upper castes, who comprise about 15% of the population, were given 113 seats — or about 28% of the total candidacies.

Out of the 113 upper caste candidates, 66 were allocated to Brahmins — coming to around 16.4% of the total seats. Brahmins comprise about 5% of UP’s population.

Also included in the upper caste tally of 113 seats are 36 seats to Rajputs and Kshtriyas and 11 to other upper castes such as Kayast and Vaishya.

The seat allocation indicates that Mayawati is targeting three of the four communities — Dalits, Muslims and upper caste Hindus, while her hopes from the OBCs seems to be limited.

OBCs, on the other hand, serves as the foundation of Samajwadi Party, along with Muslims.

Meanwhile, uncertainty continued to hang over the ruling Samajwadi Party, which is on the verge of a split with Akhilesh Yadav — who has a pro-development image in the state — leading a breakaway faction. Both factions are making presentations before the Election Commission of India explaining why they deserve the official party symbol and name.

BJP’S OBC THRUST

The Samajwadi Party’s OBC base is also under threat from the BJP, which is banking on OBC votes to drive it to victory.

BJP brought in Keshav Prasad Maurya, an OBC leader, to head its state unit six months ago. This, along with the presence of Narendra Modi — who has described himself as an OBC during campaigning — is likely to help the saffron party make inroads into the biggest voting block in the state.

Traditionally, the BJP has depended on upper castes for its support, while the Congress Party has been dependent on both upper castes and Dalits.

While the BSP was the most favored party to win the elections until about six months ago, BJP’s aggressive courting of OBC votes and its recent decision to demonetize high-denomination currency notes is seen as having made it a serious candidate for power.

Maurya is almost a state copy of BJP’s enormously successful candidate — Narendra Modi. Like Modi, Maurya also sold tea as a child, and was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Association.)

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