Muslim Vote May Be X-Factor For Opposition In UP: Prannoy Roy's Analysis

Voters from some villages said there was a good chance that more Muslims would vote for the Congress -- an outcome that would favour the BJP on a section of seats.

Census data from 2011 shows Uttar Pradesh has 19 per cent Muslim population.

Highlights

  • UP has 19 per cent Muslim population, higher than national average
  • Congress as solo player in polls wont affect Yadav vote, 2014 data shows
  • 79 per cent of Scheduled Caste votes for BSP and Samajwadi Party
LUCKNOW:

The key factors of caste and religion are likely to have a multiplier effect in Uttar Pradesh, with a divided opposition ranged against the ruling BJP, indicates data from last elections. It is very likely that a split in these votes may play into the hands of the BJP. 

The opposition parties - Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and the Congress - have brushed off any such possibility. But math based on last election's figures indicate otherwise.

Census data from 2011 shows Uttar Pradesh has 19 per cent Muslim population -- way higher than the national average of 14 per cent. The percentage of Scheduled Castes -- 21 per cent -- also stands higher than the national average of 17 per cent.

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But in a state like Uttar Pradesh, which has the highest population in India, these figures translate into a huge number of voters.

Data from the 2014 election and exit polls show that Congress as a solo player in the electoral arena would not affect the Yadav vote, 80 per cent of which goes to Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav.

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This is because the Congress gets only four per cent of the Yadav vote, way lower than the 16 per cent that the BJP draws.

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Of the Scheduled Caste votes, a mammoth 79 per cent, is scooped up by the SP and the BSP. Here too, the Congress lags behind with 3 per cent votes while the BJP gets a much larger 17 per cent chunk. 

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Leaders of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav's parties say they are certain the Congress will not have any impact on their voter base. they are also positive that the Congress will eat into the BJP's upper caste vote bank -- an assumption that appears very off track in view of 2014 data.

Numbers indicate that while the BJP gets 67 per cent of the state's Brahmin vote, the Congress claims only 12 per cent of the upper caste votes, way below the SP-BSP's 21 per cent.

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When it comes to Muslim votes, there is an 80-20 division between the SP-BSP and the Congress. And it is this category that might favour the Congress when the party competes separately.

Voters from some villages said there was a good chance that more Muslims would vote for the Congress -- an outcome that would favour the BJP on a section of seats.