In Pics: Who said what to woo Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh
Nine-phased Lok Sabha elections 2014 are set for the "grand-finale" phase on May 12.
In politically significant, Uttar Pradesh, the sixth and the final phase of polls will take place in 18 constituencies including high-profile Varanasi and there is a "cut-throat competition" among political parties to woo Muslim community voters.
As the population of Uttar Pradesh consists of various religions, Muslim community plays a major role in deciding the leader of the state. Muslims comprise more than 18 percent of the state's 200 million population.
All political parties including Congress, BJP, AAP, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and others leave no stone unturned in wooing the huge chunk of Muslims vote bank.
From 2009 general elections to 2014 general elections, the political scenario of the country has completely changed.
Congress, who once had a stronghold on Muslim voters is now lagging behind in garnering the much needed support, BJP, that was considered pro-Hindu has succeeded in shedding its hardline image, AAP was not even into existence in 2009, ruling- SP in UP has always projected them as the 'God' of Muslims and BSP, too has some loyal Muslim supporters in its kitty.
Varanasi has 3.48 lakh Muslim voters and Rohaniya and Beniya Bagh are Muslim-dominated segments. Bahraich, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Bareilly, Rampur, Moradabad,Bijnore, Amroha, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Saharanpur, Kanpur and Aligarh are the districts where Muslims constitute 30-50 per cent of the total population.
According to 2009 CSDS survey, following was the Muslim vote share to different parties:
As wooing of Muslims by most political parties continued on a high-pitch, here is a look at "who said what" to woo Muslim supporters in UP:
"Muslims of Varanasi would love me when I will come to Varanasi."
"Congress is deceiving people in the name of secularism. Poor Muslims have not gained from the government's welfare programmes."
"We have to take people from all streams of the society belonging to different religions."
"Please note that whenever, wherever if there has been any mistake and shortcoming on our part, I assure you that we will apologise to you by bowing our heads. Try us once. I we don't come up to your expectations, don't look at us ever again."
"Congress is playing vote bank politics to defame Modi and BJP... Try and understand this, they want Muslims to move away from BJP."
"Anyone who is poor should be given reservation, be it Muslims, Christians ..., and not on religious basis. Why divide people on the basis of religion. There should be equality."
"For BJP, the country's Constitution is its religion and Hindutva is nothing but a way of life in which the world is a family and it 'loves' Muslims."
"Is the SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav a 'Pope' for Muslims. Will he take them to jannat (heaven)?"
"India does not need a government that makes Hindus fight Muslims. We don't need a government that promotes hate and anger."
"Congress-led UPA has worked for the social and economic uplift of Muslims and would continue to do so if voted again to power."
Mulayam Singh Yadav
"SP will continue to pay special attention for the upliftment of the minority community, irrespective of what detractors say."
"SP government would work for the progress of the minorities, especially Muslims."
"The Samajwadi Party has always been doing its best for the upliftment of Muslims. We are looking for ways of providing employment to the community, within the legal framework."
"Muslim soldiers not Hindus fought for victory in Kargil war."
"Maximum number of communal riots had occurred during the Congress regime and "it was Muslims who suffered maximum devastation".
"Conditions of Muslims is more pathetic in comparison to even Dalits. Muslims are members of the largest minority community who deserve and need reservations."
"A Muslim, who does not vote for SP and talks against it is not a true Muslim. His DNA test should be conducted. See whether he is from RSS. I want to say that he cannot be a true person. What SP supremo Mulayam Singh has not done for them (Muslim community)."
"No one can blackmail us...as no one has the stature, which Mulayam enjoys among Muslim community, which has undeterred faith in him."
"We never considered Muslims as a vote bank..their socio-economic condition is not good and SP has always tried to rake up their issues and tried to get them redressed. And this is what parties like BJP term it as Muslim appeasement".
"If Muslim votes are divided no one would be able to stop the BJP from coming to power at the centre. Muslims will not be safe under BJP government."
"SP is trying to give a message to Muslims of eastern UP that only it can deal with BJP.
"Vote for BSP to stop the BJP coming to power as her party alone was capable of checking the saffron party in the state."
"It is a big victory for democracy in the country that Rajnath Singh and BJP's Prime Ministerial nominee, Narendra Modi had been forced to talk about Muslims."
"You need to think of yourself and your community. Muslims need to be communal."
"Muslim community for long has been used in the name of secularism by political parties."
Finally, May 16 will reveal "which way" the wind blows...