LUCKNOW: The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party seems to have lost its hold on one of its traditional voter base - the Muslims - despite different Muslim organisations and clerics pledging support to it on the eve of Assembly polls. In its worst-ever performance, the party won only 19 seats out of the total 403.
The BSP, which had fielded nearly 100 Muslim candidates, won only four out of the 77 Assembly seats dominated by the minority community voters.
Rampur, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Amroha, Bareilly, Azamgarh, Mau, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Aligarh districts have a majority of these Muslim-dominated seats.
Some of the Muslim clerics who had urged voters to vote for the BSP were Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Ahmed Bukhari, Shia cleric and senior member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, besides the Rashtriya Ulama Council.
Rampur, where Muslims constitute nearly 50 per cent of the electorate, saw not even a single MLA of the BSP getting elected. Similar situation prevailed in Saharanpur and Moradabad. The BSP also failed to make its presence felt in the Deoband Assembly constituency in Saharanpur, where the Muslim seminary Darul Uloom Deoband is located.
The party’s poor performance was repeated in Amroha, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Aligarh too.
The only silver lining for the party came from Azamgarh, where it won in Sagri, Mubarakpur, Lalganj and Didarganj Assembly constituencies.
In Mau district, barring the Mau assembly seat which was won by mafia-turned politician Mukhtar Ansari, the party could not win any other seat in the district. Even Mukhtar's son Abbas Ansari and brother Sibgatullah Ansari could not win who contested from Ghosi and Mohammadabad respectively.
Asked about the reasons for the BSP's defeat, president of Rashtriya Ulama Council (RUC) Aamir Rashadi said, "The arrogance of BSP chief Mayawati and her efforts to sideline Muslim clerics, and the BJP's success in effectively dividing the Muslim votes in the state led to significant losses for the BSP."
Pledging its support to the BSP last month, the RUC had withdrawn 84 candidates fielded by it in the polls.
He said, "The need of the hour, both in the interest of the state and that of the country, is that we (RUC and BSP) should work closely with each other, so as to stop the progress of fascist forces and at the same time help the state to get relief from the prevailing goondaraj (rule of the goons) and parivarwaad (family feud)."
"Earlier in the past, there had been efforts to bring all political parties working for the upliftment of Muslims under one umbrella, but it failed. This led to scattering of Muslim votes," Rashadi added.