By Syed Ubaidur Rahman
Split is wide open in the ruling Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh. All signs suggest towards a vertical split in the party. There are fears that the party that was catapulted to power on the strength of 20 percent Muslim votes in this crucial state is on the verge of decimation in 2017 assembly elections.
While there are many powerful Muslim leaders in the party including Azam Khan, who holds urban affairs and several other ministries in chief minister Akhilesh Yadav government, they seem to have become irrelevant in the family feud. If Azam Khan has become irrelevant in this Yadav family feud, what to talk of other satraps belonging to the Muslim community.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, despite history of hobnobbing with the BJP, has been dexterously attracting Muslim votes with his shrewd planning and support from the likes of Azam Khan. While Mulayam Singh rules with the overwhelming Muslim votes, Azam Khan extends his fief in Rampur by usurping government and private lands to construct private schools and a private university.
While Azam Khan might be claiming that his university is meant to provide education to poor from among the community, if you are really poor and visit his imposing private university, you will be told by official that the course fee in the university is beyond your capacity. Your ward will be denied admission despite having good grades and you will have to return with broken heart.
As the internal power struggle between father and son intensifies in Samajwadi Party, Azam Khan and other Muslim leaders who made the victory of the Yadav party possible with massive Muslim support seem completely irrelevant. All the names you hear contain only Yadav and more Yadav, closely linked with Mulayam Singh Yadav. There are no Khans, Pathans, Syeds, Ansaris or others.
The community that made Mulayam Singh Yadav a formidable political force, hoisting him and later his son as the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh has been completely ignored.
There is no denying that Samajwadi Party has been a huge failure from Muslim community’s perspective. Without doubt, the decision to go along with the Mulayam and Samajwadi Party was a big mistake. The party had promised moon in its manifesto prior to the 2012 assembly elections. It had promised reservation for Muslims in jobs and education. Nonetheless, it didn’t even made a half-hearted move in this regard.
Communal riots were allowed to happen in the state with short intervals. Muzaffar Nagar riots were allowed to get out of hands and Muslims were allowed to be killed in such a large number. Rioters had state and police patronage. The same was observed in all the other riots in different parts of the state.
Muslims are not going to stand this disregard of promises and bullying by the Samajwadi Party and its government. In fact in 2017 assembly elections in the state, Muslims will teach the party and its chieftains a lesson.
Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party have emerged as a viable choice for the Muslims in the state. Even the most incredulous among Muslims will not think of supporting Mulayam Singh’s party that is no longer able to present a united face, let alone having any planning to win the next polls. Many Yadav, given the sorry state of the affairs of the party will not think twice before voting for the lotus.
Another option that is emerging for the Muslims in the state is Congress. Nonetheless it doesn’t seem to have much chance at least in the 2017 elections in the state. So Muslims are left with only a good and viable option in the form of Mayawati. She is also trying to placate Muslims by allocating large number of seats for the community. Muslims should make it sure that she gives some sort of assurance to the community and provide reservation to at least backward Muslims in the state.
Muslim political parties including Peace Party and Asaduddin Owaisi’s Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen have no chance at all in the state. Voting for them is like throwing your votes in a pit.
(Syed Ubaidur Rahman is editor of www.ViewsHeadlines.com)