MUSLIM voters turned out in large numbers during polling and opted
for the Congress, which is the single biggest reason for the party's
good showing in the general elections.
According to an internal assessment of the party, the Muslim voters
showed a preference for the Congress over SP and BSP and voted for
it in a strategic move. The AICC has reached this conclusion after
studying the pattern of voting, confirming resurgence of the
Congress in an arc that extends from Jammu and Kashmir to Uttar
Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to Kerala, as well as from Gujarat to
The Muslims did not vote for Samajwadi Party because that party
joined hands with Kalyan Singh under whose chief ministership the
Babri masjid was demolished; and kept away from the Bahujan Samaj
Party as they thought that in the event of a fractured mandate, the
BSP would support the BJP.
The change in attitude was attributed to many reasons. Ever since
the Mumbai terror attack of 26/11 last year, there has been a
growing realization among the Muslims that their identification with
regional and small parties would lead to alienation in the
mainstream, sources told the Free Press Journal.
Therefore, it was in the interest of the Muslims to be associated
with national secular parties like the Congress. However, analysts
in the Congress have conceded that this logic could be extended to
the middle class and educated Muslims, but not to all sections of
Senior Congress leader Jaipal Reddy, who is a D CONG R frontrunner
for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker, claimed that he won his election
primarily due to Muslim support in his constituency. The Congress
assessment makes a special mention of the Moradabad seat in Western
Uttar Pradesh, from where cricketer Mohammand Azaruddin a fresh
entrant in politics, won with fifty thousand votes.
The options and ground realities differ from state to state. InUttar
Pradesh, where the Muslim vote is 18.5 per cent of 3.51 crore
population, the Muslims wereunsure about voting for the BSP again
because of the buzz that she might take the BJP support to become
the Prime Minister.
Muslims in UP were already peeved with the Samajwadi Party because
of the Kalyan Singh factor and that is why they did not vote for the
SP this time.