LUCKNOW: Muslims who make respectable 19.23 per cent of the total population in Uttar Pradesh seems to be divided over support to newly-stitched SP-BSP alliance which is moving ahead with the sole agenda of BJP's ouster.
Most of the Muslim organisations, including National Ulema Council, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and even students union of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), have echoed a common sentiment of being neglected. They claim that they are feeling cheated by the two major allies who did not even give a single thought to Muslim representation the grand alliance.
Their common refrain is that both the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) bank upon the Muslim vote bank in a big way, but ignored the minority community while cobbling up the tie-up.
"We were also anticipating our participation in the alliance. Muslims have played a key role in nurturing these parties. But they kept us out," riles a senior office bearer of National Ulema Council, based in Azamgarh district of eastern UP.
"If they can make space for parties like RLD and Nishad Party then why not us?" ask the Ulema Council leaders.
The council has sought at least 16 of the 80 seats in the gathbandhan for the Muslim parties to strike the socio-religious balance in it.
"Then only it will be called inclusive," adds a council leader. The demand of 20 per cent seats in the alliance is not unreasonable as it is in the ratio of Muslim population in the state, feels a leader of the UP wing of Asaduddin Owaisi- ed All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
However, the Peace Party chief Dr Mohammad Ayub sounds hopeful of the chances of getting a foothold in the alliance.
In fact, Peace Party had extended support to Nishad Party candidate who had contested on SP ticket in Gorakhpur bypoll and won the seat.
Dr Ayub, a surgeon who was arrested on rape charges in May, 2017, had unsuccessfully contested Assembly poll from Domariyaganj constituency in eastern UP. However, reacting to SP-BSP alliance Dr Ayub called upon the Muslim outfits to support Dalits and backwards to ensure the victory of SP and BSP candidates in Lok Sabha elections.
In the western UP, the students union of Aligarh Muslim University called the 'gathbandhan' a 'Thugbandhan' (an alliance of thugs). The AMU students believe that they are left with no option but NOTA.AMU students' union president, Humza Sufiyan, feels that Muslims have resigned to their fate which has only mob lynching and riots.
"Both the alliance leaders are busy having the caste calculus in their favour. While BSP chief Mayawati is concerned about the Dalit votes, Akhilesh Yadav talks about OBCs, especially, Yadavs. No one is there for Muslims," says Sufiyan. He adds that the alliance is not for the minorities.
He accuses SP and BSP leaderships of making governments in the state with Muslim votes but forgot to include them in alliance conveniently."We can't be befooled anymore. We are tired of playing the second fiddle. We, now, want our pound of flesh. We want representation in governance," asserts Sufiyan.
The Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED), led by gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari and his brothers Afzal and Sibghatullah Ansari, which has a strong base in Ghazipur, Mau in eastern UP, has already announced its merger with the BSP.
Meanwhile, Maulana Tauqeer Raza of All India Ittehad-e-Millat Council, which has a support base in Bareilly and its adjoining areas, however, chooses to remain non-committal claiming that they are weighing their options.