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BSP Chief Mayawati shifts focus to non-Muslim voters in UP’s first phase of LS polls, changing caste arithmetic

Lucknow, April 12 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati has made a strategic shift in her candidate selection for the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh. Instead of fielding Muslim candidates in seats with a dominant Muslim population in western UP, she has chosen candidates from non-Muslim communities.

The 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 polls, the BJP won seven of these seats, with only Bijnore going to the BSP, which was then in alliance with the SP.

Interestingly, even though Muslims have a significant presence in six out of the eight seats, Mayawati has decided to field non-Muslim candidates from five of these seats, taking into account the caste arithmetic of each constituency.

For example, in Muzaffarnagar, where Muslims make up around 30 per cent of the electorate, BSP has fielded Dara Singh Prajapati, an OBC candidate. Prajapati aims to secure support from OBCs and the party’s traditional Dalit base, challenging BJP’s Sanjeev Baliyan.

Similarly, in Bijnore, where Muslims form around 40 per cent of the electorate, BSP candidate Bijender Singh, a ‘Jat,’ is expected to attract Jat votes, especially with RLD, BJP’s alliance partner, fielding a ‘Gujjar’ candidate.

In Meerut, the BSP has chosen Deovrat Tyagi, a Brahmin, against BJP’s Arun Govil. Tyagi is relying on the support of the 50,000 ‘Tyagi’ voters in Meerut. In Baghpat, BSP candidate Praveen Bansal, a ‘Bania,’ is looking to secure the traditional BJP voters from his community.

Moreover, in Kairana, the BSP’s candidate Shripal Singh Rana, from the ‘Thakur’ community, may impact BJP’s chances by attracting his community’s voters. The SP has also fielded non-Muslim candidates in four of the seats, indicating a strategic shift in alliance politics in UP.


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