Mulayam faces tough battle to regain Muslim votesMay 6th, 2009 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, May 6 (IANS) Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) may find itself on less firm ground in the 18 seats that go to the polls in Uttar Pradesh Thursday - compared to the last elections when it had won nine of these - on account of the Muslim vote.
Muslims, accounting for 16 percent of the total electorate in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls in the state, are said to be unhappy with the SP.
Differences between party veteran Azam Khan and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav over SP’s newfound friendship with former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalyan Singh has led to fear that Muslims would desert them.
Kalyan Singh was the chief minister when the Babri Mosque was razed by a Hindu mob in 1992.
“This is definitely going to benefit the Congress. Khan’s campaign against the SP in Rampur and the cold war between him and senior leaders hints towards this possibility,” feels Ramesh Dixit, professor of political science in Lucknow University.
The differences are also evident from statements given by Mulayam Singh recently. “He (Azam Khan) should have kept quiet and spoken to me if he had any grievances. The issue is damaging the party,” he said. “I would request him through you (the media) to get in touch with me and pick up his phone and talk to me at least.”
Azam Khan retorted: “Humko bahar hi samjha jai (I should be considered out of the party).”
Of the 18 seats going to polls Thursday, the SP had won nine in 2004, followed by the Congress and BJP with three.
The Samajwadi Party had won from Muzaffarnagar, Mainpuri, Etah, Etawah, Farooqabad, Firozabad, Agra, Kannauj and Jalesar in 2004.
While Kalyan Singh is an independent candidate from Etah this time, SP rebel Raj Babbar, who held the Agra seat the last time, is contesting on Congress ticket from Fatehpur Sikri.
Mulayam Singh’s son Akhilesh Yadav could prove to be a saviour as he is contesting from both Kannauj and Firozabad constituencies. Mulayam Singh himself is contesting from Mainpuri.
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