With the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), led by Asaduddin Owaisi, having fielded Maulana Umair Madani from the Deoband Assembly seat in Saharanpur district, the fight for Muslim votes in western Uttar Pradesh is bound to intensify.
Maulana Umair Madani comes from a prominent Madani family of Deoband. His father Maulana Masood Madani was a former minister in the Uttarakhand government, his uncle Maulana Mahmood Madani is president of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and his grandfather Arshad Madani is principal of Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband.
The family wields considerable influence over Muslims in the region.
“The entry of the Madani family member in the Assembly polls has made the contest interesting in the western UP region because of the influence they have over the local people,” said Taufiq Qureshi, a local journalist.
The Muslim vote is decisive in deciding the fate of candidates in Saharanpur and adjoining districts. The SP, BSP and AIMIM are vying for Muslim votes to ensure victory of their candidates in the Muslim-dominated Rohilkhand region.
AIMIM has fielded Mushir Tareen from the Sambhal, Shakeel Ashrafi from Asmoli Assembly seat, Lalita Kumar from Nagina seat, Mohiuddeen from Barhapur seat, Khalid Zama from Bilari seat, Maulana Laique from Nanpara seat and Haji Qumail Ashraf Khan from Kursi assembly seat.
Interestingly, the Bahujan Samaj Party is also making a bid for Muslim votes. The party has fielded 16 Muslims in constituencies that go to polls in the first phase and 23 in the second phase. Both the phases are in western UP.
Last week, Asaduddin Owaisi had announced the launch of a new front, Bhagidari Parivartan Morcha, comprising parties with a support base among Muslims, other backward classes (OBCs) and Dalits for the 2022 UP Assembly elections.
The front includes the Jan Adhikari Party led by Babu Singh Kushwaha, the Bharat Mukti Morcha led by Vaman Meshram, Janata Kranti Party led by Anil Singh Chauhan and Bharatiya Vanchit Samaj Party led by Ram Prasad Kashyap.