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A New Muslim party in UP
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

Fed up with the taken-for-granted attitude of main stream political parties with regard to the sharing of political power three Muslim outfits All India Muslim Forum,Momin Conference and Indian Muslim Political Conference have joined hands and formed the Awami Front with Mr. Naeemullah Ansari as its chairman to test the political water in the forthcoming UP assembly election. Though these Muslim political parties are going to contest the assembly election unitedly for the first time and their political strength is yet to be measured ,this step has unnerved the so called secular parties who have all along been taking Muslim voters for granted. It was the case with Congress who enjoyed the en block voting of Muslims for about 40 years and then the Samajvadi Party who was so popular among Muslims that they never hesitated to vote for known Kar sevaks who were personally involved in the demolition of Babri masjid but changed the side for political benefits.

Actually the attitude of Mulayam Singh Yadav has specially pained the Muslim masses who according to them get almost hundred percent Muslim votes but hardly gives ten percent tickets to Muslims.This is evident from the list issued by the Samajvadi Party which has hardly fielded 40 Muslim candidates out of 403 seats of state assembly. Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party though has fielded 86 Muslim candidates and thus has made a record but her hobnobbing with BJP for the sake of power has made her unreliable among Muslims.Congress is in better position and is no more an anathema for the community and under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi,Narain Dut Tewari,Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prakash Jaiswal Salman Khursheed Pramod Tewari etc.is leaving no stone unturned to get back its lost ground. Still it has to go a long way to touch the magic figure of getting majority. But in the matter of giving tickets in proportion to their population ,the party also lags behind, Thus only BSP has fielded maximum Muslim candidates and it is expected that it will return with highest number of Muslim members.

But will the maximum number of Muslim MLAs be a guarantee that Mayawati will not form the govt with the help of BJP or with her flock of maximum Muslim MLAs will she help in the formation of a secular govt.headed by any other leader except herself. Or Mulayam Singh and Mayawati will display the political maturity and join hands to stop the saffron brigade from coming to power are the questions haunting the community and the answer of all these question is a big NO.From all accounts it is again going to be a hung assembly in UP and every group, big or small will play a crucial role in the formation of the next govt. Will Muslim MLAs be in a position to assert themselves and put pressure on their respective parties particularly BSP not to hobnob with saffron brigade. Impossible, as they will be guided by the whip of their respective parties and they would not muster the courage to form their own pressure group to champion the cause of secularism.No one will like to annoy his respective political boss and lose his assembly seat under anti defection law.

Muslims have lost faith in hte so called secular leaders because of their flirting with BJP.They are particularly sour with Mayawati who inspite of public assurances to the community in general and Maulana Abdullah Bukhari in particular during 1996 assembly elections joined hands with BJP and formed the govt only for six months.However,she paid a heavy price for her political mischief and opportunism by losing half of their legislative strength to BJP. 

The track record of Mulayam Singh Yadav is also not very good. It was because of him that a secular govt under the leadership of Sonia gandhi could not be formed. It paved the way for Vajpayee again coming to power. In UP too his track record right from 1990 till date has not been upto the mark even if he enjoyed full confidence and support of the community.

Under these circumstances the community in general and politically conscious educated young Muslims in particular have all along been thinking that there should be a Muslim political party so that the community may emerge as a strong political group just like Dalits who under the banner of BSP have united themselves and have now become a force to reckon with and every political outfit is anxious to have some sort of understanding with BSP simply because it has an unshakeable vote bank of about 21% in every constituency.Victory or no victory Dalits particularly Raidas(Jatav or Chamar) will vote for BSP and it is on the basis of this vote bank that Mayawati negotiates with every individual or political group at her own terms and conditions.

Late Dr. Abdul Jaleel Faridi was the first muslim leader after Independence who tried to make the community a political force and presented the formula of Dalit-Muslim unity who will comprise more than 30% of vote and will be a political force. He did his best to make his dream a reality and succeeded to some extent and for the first time the grip of Congress weakened .Congress sought the help of its trusted political ally of Kerala, the Indian Union Muslim League to come to its rescue to stop the upward march of Dr. Faridi's political ideology that was gaining ground in UP and Dr. Faridi's health also came in his way and his dream was only half fulfilled.

All India Muslim Forum ,and many other Muslim political outfits were working in this direction but their mutual differences ,one upmanship and mistrust always came in the way of their unity so much so that they became a laughing stock with the public asking that if few leaders in the name of Muslim interests may not unite how do they expect the entire community to unite under one political umbrella .

Now a concrete step has been taken and it is for the Muslim masses to decide its fate by their best judgement.
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