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UP elections to decide BJP fate
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

The UP assembly elections are very important for all the major political outfits but are the question of life and death for the ruling BJP, main opposition Samjwadi Party and Congress which from all account is playing the second fiddle in this battle of ballot. .Bahujan Samaj Party is another claimant of the power, but knows very well that it could never get full majority on its own and its hope lies on a hung assembly so that it could bargain from a strong position. Maverick Mayawati knows very well that BJP in order to stop Mulayam Singh Yadav from coming to power may enter into a bargain with her to share the power .If it was for six-month period last time speculations are rife that it will be two and half years rotation this time. The political scene is almost clear. It will again be a coalition government. with Mayawati forming the government. with the help of BJP for the first half period of the 14th assembly or Mulayam Singh Yadav with the help of Congress will form the government if both the parties got necessary strength together. 

More than fifteen percent Muslim voters will be playing a crucial role in the election. Now they have become clever enough not to vote for any particular party en block as it always benefits BJP. Now they have adopted the policy of tactical voting. In the last parliamentary election they adopted this policy resulting in the defeat of BJP candidates in as many as 25 seats and all the secular parties got benefit of this tactics. Even Congress got 10 seats. However the political pundits are again predicting a doom for it. This time also Muslims will adopt the same policy and this has unnerved the BJP compelling it to resort to its time tested communal agenda which is evident from its election manifesto which besides other assurances announces to implement POTO in UP and identification and deportation of Bangladeshis. 

Keeping in mind the Muslim mindset all political parties have promised heaven for Muslims. Even BJP has announced that Muslims will be treated as equal citizens of the country and all efforts will be made for their all round development and benefit of reservation under new reservation policy will be provided to them to increase their representation in government jobs. In fact this has already been provided and Muslim backward castes have been included in the new reservation policy envisaged by Rajnath Singh. 

Congress , Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are the three main claimants of the Muslim votes as BJP knows it very well that very few Muslims, mostly fortune seekers only, will vote for it and that too on the basis of candidates popularity among them and not on the basis of party which is untouchable for them.

Congress, Samjawadi Party and BJP have made tall promises to woo Muslim voters in their respective manifestoes. BSP is an exception which doesn't believe in such rituals. Its concept is to provide share in political power to all sections of the society and it is the responsibility of respective members to work for the upliftment of their community and caste.

Let us examine the promises made by above mentioned parties for the well being of Muslims in UP if they come to power. 

The Congress manifesto was released by senior leader and three times Chief Minister Narain Dutt Tewari and party’s state chief Shri Prakash Jaiswal in Lucknow. It has made twenty five promises with the community which includes honest implementation of 15 point programme envisaged by Mrs. Indira Gandhi and with the passage of time were accepted as national programme for the welfare of the minorities. It has also promised to accord second official language status to Urdu which was snatched by non Congress governments of last ten years (however Mulayam’s and Mayawati’s contribution in the development of Urdu can not be overlooked as both of them appointed translators and Urdu teachers). It may be remembered that this decision was taken by Narain Dutt Tewari himself in the last days of his government in 1989.The party has also promised to provide all facilities to Muslim educational institutions as given under articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution. 

The major promise made by Congress is to increase the representation of Muslims in the notorious Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) which is known for its anti Muslim actions during communal riots. 

Another major promise made by Congress is that it will ensure that Muslim backward castes are given separate quota with-in the envisaged 27% as per Mandal Commission recommendations. .However, the same facility has been provided by Rajnath Singh government in its new reservation policy.

Congress has also promised to constitute Madarsa Education Board on the pattern of Madhya Pradesh. This too has been done by Rajnath Singh government. It has however assured the community that their religious places and educational institutions will not be suspected and full protection will be provided to them so that they could freely render their services to the community. However in case of any suspicion action will be taken after completing full legal process and the senior and saner elements of the area belonging to the Muslim community will be taken into confidence before initiating any such action, the manifesto has promised. 

Later, speaking to MG the state party president Mr. Jaiswal promised that the guilty persons of Maliana and Hashimpura tragedy will be brought to book if Congress formed the government. 

On Babri Masjid issue the party has promised that persons responsible for the demolition of the Masjid howsoever powerful they may be will be brought to book and will be given exemplary punishment for their misdeed and the Supreme Courts judgment will be honoured in the dispute and the status- quo will be maintained there at all costs till the final judgment. 

Samajwadi Party has also assured reservation to Muslims in its election manifesto .In its seven points assurance to its major vote bank the SP has also promised to adopt the Karnataka and Kerala model to provide reservation to Muslims.( The same has also been assured by Congress). For the educational development of Muslims the party has promised to open schools in Muslim dominated areas rather than police stations. The party has also promised to constitute Minority Educational Commission which will submit its report within three months to suggest ways and means to improve the minority educational institutions, Madrasas and open technical and medical colleges in Muslim dominated areas and the SP government will act accordingly with-in three months.. 

The party has also promised to constitute Minority Welfare Ministry that will encompass Wakf, Haj, Minorities financial corporation and Minority Commission for better functioning. However the same ministry had already been constituted by Ms. Mayawati during her first innings in 1994-95 and is still working and was not abolished even by BJP. The party has promised to improve the condition of Muslim artisans by providing them loan on easy instalments and subsidy.

For the first time any party has considered about the housing problem of the Muslims and has assured them to provide neat and clean accommodation to bring them out of ghetto. Urdu and justice are two other topics the SP has touched in detail. The party like Congress has promised to bring to justice the persons responsible for the demolition of Babri Masjid .

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