Perhaps it was the importance of Muslim votes that SP showed least interest in allying with Chaudhary Ajit Singh led RLD which is primarily a party with a Jat vote bank.
It was Jat versus Muslims during the Muzaffarnagar riots and Akhilesh Yadav was not interested in aligning with the perceived “oppressors” of the community, said SP insiders.
BJP, on its part, hopes for polarisation of Hindus in reaction to the possible consolidation of Muslims behind the SP-Congress alliance.
With the pro-Hindutva leaders of the ilk of Hukum Singh, Sangeet Som, Suresh Rana, Sanjiv Balyan, Yogi Adityanath and Ramchandra Katheria leading the campaign and the issue of Hindu migration in the western region finding mention in BJP ‘Sankalp patra’ (manifesto), BJP is expecting a consolidation of Hindu votes like in the 2012 elections when it won Kairana, Saharanpur Nagar, Thana Bhawan, Bijnor and Noorpur in the face of division of votes between two Muslim candidates.
“BJP is clear that it will not get support among Muslims and knows that Hindus will finally come behind them…though Muzaffarnagar has long been done but migration is a recent issue and a reality highlighted by his party,” a BJP leader said.
The party’s concern is to check any division in Hindu votes on seats where no mainstream party has fielded Muslims or there is strong Hindu candidate against a BJP nominee.
There are as many as 110 seats where both BJP and the SP-Congress alliance have fielded a Hindu candidate.
BSP is also banking on the Mayawati regime providing a communally safe atmosphere during which the three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court pronounced its decision on the contentious Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit in 2009 when the entire country was put on high alert.
It is also highlighting the condition of the community which relied on Congress for 50 years and on SP for more than two decades.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BSP was relegated to the third slot in Saharanpur where Congress leader Imran Masood had emerged second because of overwhelming Muslim support as well as Kairana, Sambhal, Moradabad and Bijnor, where SP consolidated its support among Muslims.