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Congress's Muslim card, Ajit Singh's Jat clout on test in Tuesday's poll

Monday February 27, 2012 09:41:42 PM, IANS

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Sixth phase of UP polls - Facts at a glance

Lucknow: The Muslim card, played heavily by the Congress party, will be on test Tuesday when 68 Uttar Pradesh assembly constituencies go to poll during the sixth and penultimate phase of the ogoing election.

Four of the 13 districts witnessing the poll have a substantial Muslim population ranging between 25-39 percent, while the remaining nine districts have 18-22 percent Muslims.

Together with the Muslim card, the much talked-about clout of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh among the next dominant Jat community is also bound to face a litmus test.

The bulk of the Muslim vote is likely to get divided between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance, whose leaders have been wooing the Muslims.

On the other hand, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is struggling to retain a chunk of the 35 seats it had won in this area in 2007, while BJP is banking upon possible polarization of its traditional vote bank of hardcore Hindus as a reaction to the Muslim-baiting by both Congress and SP.

About 2.11 crore voters were eligible to caste their vote at 21,317 polling stations in 68 constituencies, spread across the districts of Saharanpur, Prabudh Nagar, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Panchsheel Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar, Mathura and Agra.

Even as this entire belt is notorious for its male chauvinism and their dominance, with as many as 93,91,585 women listed as voters, the phase has the highest number of women electors, besides some 712 eunuchs.

Each of the key players -- SP, Congress-RLD and BSP -- made it a point to get their respective prominent Muslim faces go around the region. If SP was banking its hopes on Azam Khan, who belongs to Rampur in the neighbourhood, the Congress was looking up to the magic of Rashid Masood, who had crossed over from SP to their side. But it was Haji Yaqoob Quraishi the BSP rebel (now with RLD) who wields more influence than others in this belt. And he was considered largely responsible for bringing Muslims in a big way to the BSP, which bagged as many as 35 seats in 2007.

Interestingly, Quraishi's brother Mohd Yusuf Quraishi was inducted into the Congress.

The scramble for the Muslim vote had led Mulayam Singh Yadav to also award a ticket to the son-in-law of Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Maulana Ahmed Bukhari, who came down to campaign for SP.

Prominent among the other leaders, whose prestige would be at stake in this phase were former UP chief minister and former BJP national president Rajnath Singh, who was a sitting MP from Ghaziabad, BSP ministers Ramveer Upadhaya and Laxmi Narain, and RLD chief Ajit Singh's son Jayant Chaudhary, the Lok Sabha member from Mathura. Bollywood star-turned Congress star campaigner Raj Babbar too had addressed several political rallies in parts of this region.







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Picture of the Day

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh presenting a memento to the President of Rotary International Kalyan Banerjee at the inauguration of the Polio Summit 2012, in New Delhi on February 25, 2012. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Sudip Bandyopadhyay are also seen.

(Photo: Asish Maitra)



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