With all eyes on consolidating Muslim vote bank, the BSP chief Mayawati has given top priority to Muslim candidates in her first list for communally sensitive western Uttar Pradesh. In the first list of 100 candidates released on Thursday, Mayawati has fielded 36 percent Muslim candidates in the region. In the riot-affected Muzaffar Nagar and Shamli districts, half of the seats have been given to Muslim candidates.
“We are giving 97 tickets to Muslims in the state which is 10 more than the tickets given to Dalits. The names have been finalised for all the 403 seats and be released,” said Mayawati emphasising her strategy for the vote bank of Muslims which constitutes around 20 percent. Muslims in Uttar Pradesh have now become second largest community after dalits who are around 25 percent.
While there is reservation of seats for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates and all parties are bound to field Dalits from those seats but giving tickets to Muslims is voluntary for the political parties. On several seats in western Uttar Pradesh Muslims are majority and are in position to elect their own candidate without the help of any other caste but Dalits vote bank is not consolidated in any constituency to elect their representative on their own.
Muzaffar Nagar which faced series of riots in 2013 has six assembly segments out of which a seat is reserved for SC. Out of five general seats in the district; BSP has fielded three Muslims, a Brahamin and one OBC. The caste and community calculations have been extensively applied in all the 20 districts of western UP with an upper hand to Muslim candidates in all the districts.