LUCKNOW: Muslims comprise 19% of the population in UP, and the number minority candidates in the House has declined to 24. It’s a marked difference from the 2012 polls when 69 Muslim MLAs entered the legislature.
Though Muslims are countable, BJP did not field a single Muslim in the 403 seats. Muslims have a strong presence in West UP, Rohilkhand, Terai and east UP, and they, along with Yadavs and Dalits, have been the core vote bank of Congress, SP and BSP.
A key objective of SP’s decision to ally with Congress was to consolidate the Muslim votes. The fear was that the Muslim votes would split between SP and BSP, and help BJP sneak through.
PM Modi stirred things up with his and `Ramzan vs Diwali’ comments, implying unfair treatment to Hindus by SP.
The perception that Muslims vote en bloc, and tactically, is one that BJP seems to have used to its advantage, though the jury is out on whether the landslide is due to fatigue with regional parties or an expression of Hindu polarisation.