LUCKNOW: Amid its efforts to reach out to Muslim voters through Pasmanda Samaj in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party in UP has claimed ‘encouraging’ numbers from some of the minorities-dominated booths of Gola Gokarannath constituency which had a bypoll recently.
“We always believed that a small percentage of Muslim voters was drifting towards us, but now we have concrete numbers,” a U PBJP functionary told TOI. UP BJP minority wing chief Basit Ali and junior minister for minority affairs Danish Azad claimed that on several booths in Gola Gokarannath, where Aman Giri contested the bypoll after the demise of his father Arvind Giri, the BJP has performed better as compared to 2022 assembly elections.
This, coupled with the movement of key Samajwadi Party functionaries to the BJP in bypoll-bound Rampur, has encouraged the saffron party leaders to claim that it was the sign of the birth of a new trend in voting in the state. Among the SP Muslim functionaries who joined BJP recently was Fasahat Khan alias Shanu, who has been Azam Khan’s man Friday in the constituency for the past 17 years.
As per the polling data quoted by Basit Ali, BJP performed better than SP in Rasoolpur village which has Muslim voters in a majority. Similarly, the saffron party bettered SP in Roshannagar, Bhudwara,Chhotelalpur and Haiderabad villages, Ali further claimed.
Giving details, MoS Azad said, at Booth No 116 Lakhganva, BJP got 286 votes and SP 361 in 2022 assembly election while at the same booth, BJP has been able to poll 348 votes and SP only 252 votes in the bypoll.
At Booth No 117 Lakhganva, BJP got only 227 votes and SP 480 in 2022 elections, while in the bypoll, the BJP got 338 votes and SP282, he said, adding “At booth number 158 Chhairasi, BJP polled just 96votes in assembly polls while in the bypoll it garnered 294 votes; at booth number 094, BJP won 359 votes in 2022, and in the bypoll, it won 454 votes; at booth No 126 Rasool Pana, votes polled by BJP rose from 210 votes in assembly polls to 359 votes.
The claims of the BJP minority leaders could not be independently verified as Form 20 for bypoll giving booth-wise breakup is not uploaded, as it is done in assembly elections, on the ECI website. BJP leaders claimed that the trend was certainly encouraging as the same will help in erasing the “Hindu party” tag that the party has been carrying ever since it was formed in 1980.
Azad claimed that that the trend was a proof that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath believe in inclusive politics unlike opposition parties who believed in appeasement of a few castes. “It is for this reason that the BJP is now winning Muslim booths,” Danish claimed.
In the forthcoming bypoll, too, the party has been able to win over some prominent Muslim leaders in Rampur, which has nearly 60%voters from the minority community, and is considered a pocket borough of Azam Khan, the SP veteran whose disqualification has necessitated the bypoll.
The first Muslim leader to come out in support of BJP candidate Akash Saxena was five-time MLA and the scion of the local royal family, Nawab Kazim Ali alias Naved Mian. While Kazim Ali continues to be a member of Congress, Azam’s confidante Shanu has formally joined BJP. Such trends show that BJP is now no more untouchable from Muslims, political analysts believe.
More than an encouraging sign for the BJP, this trend, if true, is set to upset caste calculation of all the opposition parties in the state, say experts. Despite extreme polrarisation of Muslim voters in favour of SP, it could won just 111 seats, well short of half-way mark of 203,in the 2022 assembly polls, they say.

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