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BSP chief Mayawati changes her caste arithmetic, focuses on non-Muslims in UP’s first phase

Lucknow, April 12, 2024
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati has tweaked her policy while selecting candidates for the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Instead of fielding Muslims on seats having a dominant Muslim population in western UP, she has now fielded candidates belonging to non-Muslim communities.

The Lok Sabha seats in UP going to the polls in the first phase include Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Bijnore, Kairana, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Saharanpur.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had won seven of these seats and had lost only Bijnore to the BSP, which had then contested the elections in alliance with the SP.

Interestingly, Muslims hold a sizable presence in at least six constituencies out of the eight seats that will go to the polls in the first phase. Both SP and BSP had fielded Muslim candidates from these seats in the past elections.

This time, however, Mayawati has chosen not only to field non-Muslim candidates from five of these seats, which include Kairana, Baghpat, Bijnore, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar, but also kept the seat-wise caste arithmetic in mind while selecting its nominees.

Incidentally, the SP, barring the Kairana seat, has also fielded non-Muslim candidates on the remaining four seats.

In Muzaffarnagar, where the Muslims form around 30 per cent of the electorate, the BSP has fielded Dara Singh Prajapati, an OBC hoping to corner the votes of his community as well as the party’s traditional Dalit community.

Prajapati, if he manages to get the support of the OBCs, may dent the base of BJP’s Sanjeev Baliyan.

In Bijnore seat, where Muslims form around 40 per cent of the electorate, the BSP has fielded Bijender Singh, a ‘Jat’.

Since the RLD, which is BJP’s alliance partner, has fielded Chandan Chauhan, a ‘Gujjar’, Singh is expected to bag a sizable number of Jat votes.

Similarly, in Meerut, the BSP has fielded Deovrat Tyagi, a Brahmin against BJP’s Arun Govil, who played Lord Rama in the serial ‘Ramayana’. The BSP nominee is banking on the support of 50,000 ‘Tyagi’ voters in Meerut.

In Baghpat also, where Muslims form around 26 per cent of the electorate, the BSP has fielded Praveen Bansal, who belongs to the ‘Bania’ community, which had been BJP’s traditional voters.

Similarly, in Kairana also, the BSP has fielded Shripal Singh Rana, who hails from ‘Thakur’ community. BJP’s prospects may be hit here if Rana manages to get the support of his community voters.(Agency)

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