Lucknow: Is the
crucial Muslim vote bank of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP)
drifting away? Even while party leaders say there is nothing that
could "alienate the minorities", community leaders have begun to
openly speak of their "early disenchantment" with SP chief Mulayam
Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, the Uttar Pradesh chief
Minority leaders were angered by the SP chief's recent statement
in parliament that the differences between his party and Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) could disappear in near future if it gave up
certain issues that the SP had antipathy to.
"What was the reason for Mulayam Singh to make such a unprovoked
and unthought of statement," questioned Syed Tabrez, a cleric, who
said he had voted for the SP in last year's assembly polls but was
now vary of it.
"Mulayam Singh in the past too has romanced anti-Muslim leaders
like Kalyan Singh for his narrow political gains so what is the
guarantee that he would not cheat the Muslims again for his own
benefit," asked Naseemuddin Siddiqui, senior BSP leader and leader
of opposition in the legislative council, charging that the SP was
never serious about the Muslims' welfare.
Syed Imam Bukhari, the Imam of Delhi Jama Maszid, has also been
openly critical of the state government which he once helped come
to power. Regretting the support he extended to the SP in the 2012
state assembly polls by openly campaigning for it, Bukhari told
IANS that if "the situation was allowed to continue in the way it
is, the results of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls would be very 'mukhtalif'
(different) from the 2012 state assembly polls."
Pointing out the widening drift, he said that minorities were not
feeling secure in Akhilesh Yadav's regime. In a complete
turnaround from his stance during the assembly elections, he went
on to call the state government a "zaalim hukumat" (cruel
Muslim leaders also point out the rising instances of communal
clashes since the new government has come to power. Between March
2012 and December 2012, the state government has admitted that 27
communal clashes, riots and other instances of violence had taken
place in the state. These include three major communal riots at
Mathura, Bareilly and Faizabad and minor communal flare ups in
Pratapgarh, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Sambhal, Bijnore, Allahabad,
Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Lucknow, Kushinagar, Sitapur, Bahraich,
Sant Ravidas Nagar and Moradabad.
The brutal killing of deputy superintendent of police (DSP)
Zia-ul-Haq in Pratapgarh allegedly at the hands of a SP minster
who later resigned has also added to the drift. With this
incident, the minority leaders seem to have put the state
government on notice.
"This is how we are treated by this government," said Salim, a
Muslim resident of the Deoria village to which the deceased police
Mulayam Singh Yadav, however, has no apprehensions of being
deserted by the Muslim community and says the state government was
doing everything to not only bring the community at par with every
other segment of the society but also to infuse a sense of
"Several welfare schemes have been implemented for the welfare of
Muslims and we are committed to the implementation of the
recommendations made by Justice Ranganath Mishra and the Sachchar
Committee report," Mulayam Singh Yadav told IANS.
The chief minister also has been trying his best to keep the
Muslims happy and has undertaken many welfare schemes like
Rs.30,000 financial aid for marriage and higher education for
Muslim girls under the 'Hamari Beti, Uska Kal' scheme,
construction of boundary walls at all Muslim graveyards at a cost
of Rs.200 crore and several educational scholarships.
However, it seems the Samajwadi Party government will have to do
much more to appease and secure its minority vote-bank.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)