Lucknow: In a seemingly polarised electoral atmosphere that saw a straight contest between the ruling BJP and Samajwadi Party (SP), voters have sent 36 Muslim candidates to the 18th Uttar Pradesh Assembly, two more than the previous Assembly.
The newly elected MLAs account for 8.93 per cent of the total 403 legislators in a state that has a over 20 per cent Muslim population.
Among the prominent Muslim MLAs who have been elected are Mohd Azam Khan, his son Abdullah Azam Khan, jailed-gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas, and nephew Mannu.
In Rampur, jailed SP leader Azam Khan won the seat after securing 1,21,755 votes, while BJP’s Akash Saxena was a distant second with 56,368 votes.
In the Suar Assembly segment, Azam’s son Abdullah Azam received 1,26,162 votes against 65,059 votes of Haidar Ali Khan a.k.a. Hamza Mian, who contested on Apna Dal’s ticket.
In Mau, Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas Ansari, fighting on an SBSP ticket, defeated BJP’s Ashok Kumar Singh by 38,227 votes.
In Mohammadabad (Ghazipur), former MLA Sibgatullah Ansari’s son and Mukhtar’s nephew Suhaib Ansari a.k.a. Mannu emerged victorious with a margin of 18,199 votes defeating BJP’s sitting MLA Alka Rai.
In Kairana seat, SP’s Nahid Hasan secured a win after polling 1,31,035 votes against BJP candidate Mriganka Singh’s 1,05,148.
In Nizamabad (Azamgarh), SP’s 85-year-old veteran, Alam Badi, was re-elected defeating BJP’s Manoj by a margin of 34,187 votes.
Kithore Assembly seat in Meerut saw a close contest between SP’s Shahid Mazoor and BJP’s Satvir Singh. Mazoor won the seat by a slender margin of 2,180 votes.
In Kundarki (Moradabad), SP MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq’s son Zia-ur-Rehman trounced BJP’s Kamal Kumar by 43,162 votes.
This time, while the SP fielded much smaller number of Muslim candidates — 64 — primarily in an attempt to shed the tag of its MY (Muslim – Yadav) combination being its core constituency, the BSP fielded 88 Muslims while the Congress fielded another 75.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, too, fielded over 60 candidates from the community. Though the manner in which the community voted, it appears mostly SP remained the top choice of Muslims while the BSP and AIMIM also got the support of the community in some seats. However, at the most they played spoilsport for the SP candidates who were trailing by slender margins.