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Quami Ekta Dal merged with SP due to efforts of Shivpal Yadav, then merger got cancelled due to pressure from Akhilesh. SP again admitted QED under its fold, however, after Akhilesh got control of party he denied ticket to Ansari brothers.
Frustrated, the brothers who enjoy considerable clout in eastern and north eastern UP, then knocked on the doors of Behenji. Mayawati who is lauded by people for her good law and order maintenance, admitted the brothers in the party.
Social media has targeted BSP for this move and pundits predicting loss of vote share due to double standards on law and order issue. The opposition and criticism in the same fervour was missing when SP admitted these brothers in the party. Afzal Ansari even signed an affidavit supporting Akhilesh in his battle with Shivpal & Mulayam which was submitted before the Election Commission.
Why has Behenji taken this big risk which may dent her party image?
1. Despite people favouring Maya over Akhilesh (48% vs 26%) on law and order issue, Akhilesh is seen leading the popularity ratings (most preferred CM candidate). This implies law and order is low on priority of voters in UP and development is first preference.
2. SP-INC alliance has dealt a blow to Maya’s efforts of combing a Dalit-Muslim combination. QED has good influence among the minority community in Purvanchal commanding 4.2% vote share in 43 constituencies in full Modi wave in 2014. This Maya believes will tilt the scale in favour of BSP in this region. BSP has allotted 3 tickets and due to Mukhtar’s Robinhood image (similar to Sahabuddin of Bihar) they are likely to win these seats.
3. Maya feels law and order is an election issue for upper caste and rich people. Her vote bank faces basic dal-roti issues. With savarn voter (forward class) who supported Maya in 2007 and 2012, firmly behind BJP, Maya was inclined to take the risk, as upper caste is already annoyed with her and for her there is no loss.
Will this help?
Though there are reports of Muslims getting consolidated behind SP-INC alliance, it needs to be taken into consideration that their votes have always been split. They would go for tactical voting and may support BSP candidates where they are better positioned to defeat BJP.
Also in seats where BSP has a Muslim candidate and SP/ INC a Hindu candidate, community may decide to back Mayawati as it wants a better representation in assembly, especially after no Muslim MP was elected from UP in Lok Sabha.
Will this be a master stroke of Mayawati or not will be known only after election results. Considering that she is very shrewd this looks like a well thought and calculated move aimed at giving Muslims a call that its BSP and not SP which is better positioned to defeat BJP.