Ulema Council gets 2.25 lac votes, no seat; AUDF enters Parliament

New Delhi, May 19: This Lok Sabha election was observed by many for one specific reason among others the emergence of Muslim political parties……..

with the demand that the largest minority community should be given more representation in legislatures, quota in education and jobs, and victimization of the community in the garb of war on terror should stop.

The Azamgarh-based Uttar Pradesh Ulema Council, the most vocal of half a dozen Muslim political parties that emerged in the last six months, was formed in the backdrop of the infamous Batla House encounter in Delhiā€™s Jamia Nagar.

Soon after the encounter on September 19, 2008 in which two Muslim youths, described as terror suspects by the security agencies, were killed. They were from Azamgarh, and following the shootout, several people of the district living in Delhi and other cities were picked, a few released, most of them were detained in various terror blast cases. People of Azamgarh, particularly Muslims, did not accept the police version of all stories regarding involvement of Azamgarh Muslim youths in bombings in various cities in the country. They got enraged. This is when Ulema Council is formed to tap the anger of the community, to give an organized voice to the grievances of the locals. Council chief Maualana Amir Rashadi, who runs a prominent madrasa Jamiatur Rashad in Azamgarh, led two massive rallies in New Delhi and Lucknow to apprise both central and state government of the public demand and anger. And then came the General Election season.

Performance of Ulema Council in LS elections

The Council fielded six candidates in this Lok Sabha election, most of them in eastern Uttar Pradesh. In total they got 2,17,444 votes. Three of them got 4th position in their constituencies while two 7th. Its Lucknow candidate with 3486 votes was at No. 5. In Azamgarh, the headquarters of Ulema Council, Dr Javed Akhtar got 59,270. Its candidates in Lalganj and Jaunpur constituencies, like Azamgarh, did well. Chandra Ram alias Chandu Saroj got 87,777 in Lalganj while Dr Tasleem Ahmad Rehmani got 51,278 in Jaunpur, and the two remained at No. 4.

None of Ulema Council candidate could reach anywhere near the winning strike, and this was very much clear to many since the beginning. The Council was not a political party. It had fielded Independent candidates. It had no organizational structure at district, block and village level mainly because it got little time to work on that front. Most importantly, it did not get into alliance with other parties, and decided to take on formidable Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, BJP and Congress singlehandedly. So the result is not surprising. It is likely the party will now focus on its organization and grassroot structure if it is sincere to go ahead in the electoral politics.

The two-year-old Assam United Democratic Front, on the other hand, gave superb performance in its debut Lok Sabha elections.

Performance of Assam United Democratic Front

AUDF had fielded candidates in nine Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam. It won one, came 2nd in two and 3rd in six. AUDF chief perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal won the Dhubri Lok Sabha seat by bagging 5,40,820 votes. He defeated his nearest rival by a margin of 1,84,419 votes. Its Karimganj candidate Rajesh Mallah was defeated by a few thousand votes. He got 2,51,797 votes while the winner got 259717 votes. With 2,02,062 votes Maulana Badruddin Ajmal was at No 2 in Silchar. The AUDF got 17.1% of the total votes cast in the Lok Sabha election in the state, and it was at No. 3 after Congress and BJP.

AUDF was formed in 2007, a few months before the state Assembly elections. It demanded complete closure of Assam border with Bangladesh, special status for the state and a check on victimization of genuine Indian citizens in the name of Bangladeshi. On this plank the AUDF fielded its candidates in the election and won 10 Assembly seats. In the last two years the party has expanded its vote base and organizational structure in the state. Of the nine LS candidates it fielded, two were non-Muslims. One of them lost with a narrow margin.

Besides these two Muslim political parties, all those formed in the recent past fared very badly. Whether it is MMK in the south or Peace Party in the North, they got just a few thousands of votes.