Lucknow: The pre-poll alliance between the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Congress which is likely to be announced soon may be beneficial largely to the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party which is trying its best to regain power in the state lost five years ago mainly because of division of Dalit votes.
The two will gain for different reasons. The BSP hopes to gain from the Muslims' antagonism to the Congress.The Muslims had largely supported the Congress during the pre-Masjid demotion period. A good many of those who had backed it then changed loyalty after the Masjid in Ayodhya was dashed to the ground. Behind the demotion the main players were different but a majority of the community members believed that the then Congress government at the Centre, particularly the then Prime Minister Narsimha Rao, had given tacit support to them.
The incident had taken place nearly 24 years ago but many of them who are alive and shared the story with the younger generation still nurse a grudge against the party. After their "disillusionment" with the party most of the community members either voted for the SP or the BSP in the state, adding to the woes of the oldest party which was set up decades before them.
The party has not yet recovered and been able to regain the lost ground. It may make some gains if some SP loyalists among the Yadav and Muslim groups cast their votes in favour of the party in the wake of the alliance. The SP will be a loser in either case.
The BSP feels happy with the development mainly because in case of the tie-up it hopes to get sizable support of those Muslims who have not forgotten the Ayodhya incident and have not forgiven the Congress. Chief minister Akhilesh supporters, however, are not on the same page.
The logic given behind it by this groups is that in the previous assembly poll the ruling party had secured a little over 29 per cent votes which had helped it form the government. Even if there is four to six per cent fall in the upcoming election the party will be able to regain power. The Congress had got more than eleven per cent votes in the previous election. Transfer of half of these votes will make good the loss. The party which secured around 30 per cent votes could come to power in last two assembly elections.
But it is easily said than done. With a good percentage of Muslim votes going to the BSP the party will be in a much better position. There was only three per cent vote difference between the SP which formed government and the BSP which held the second position. Thus, three to four per cent swing in favour of the latter can upset all the rival's calculations.
The BSP is pinning all its hope on better Muslim support. It was for this reason that the party had decided to field ten more Muslim candidates than the Dalit. Appreciation of this gesture will keep the party happy. Another factor that may go against the SP is its opposition to form an alliance with the Jat leader Ajit Singh . Jats account for 17 per cent of the population. Their support to BSP in constituencies where Ajit has not fielded candidates will go against the interest of the ruling party.
The SP has to worry about the western region because Jats and Muslims mainly reside in the area .Muslim population in the area is 26 per cent of the total. Jats account for another 26 per cent. The BSP already has a strong presence in this part. One or two per cent higher votes of these two to the party will be enough to disturb the peace of the Akhilesh group.
The region goes to the poll first to elect as many as 77 legislators out of the total 403 on February 11.