New Delhi: The battle between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) to consolidate Muslim vote bank is likely to get fiercer after the completion of the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh election. The polling pattern hitherto especially good turnout of the Muslim electorates has kept the political camps on the alert.

As a matter of fact, both parties are eyeing on a total of 49 seats of Phase V elections for which the electorates will cast their votes on February 23. Interestingly, the fate of the candidates will rest upon more than 30 percent Muslim voters during this phase.

More so, the parties are going hammer and tongs to grab other two dozen seats having 20-29 percent Muslim electorates.

For this the parties are trading barbs at one another and are also taking Muslim organizations into confidence. Maulana Bukhari, Imam of the Jama Masjid, Delhi has appealed to his community to vote for the SP. It is for this purpose that the SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav met Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi of All India Muslim Personal Law Board in Lucknow.

Sources in the SP said, the inclination of the Muslims in exercising their franchise  in favour of the party was visible in Siddharthnagar, Basti and Bahraich constituencies during Phase-I and Allahabad in Phase-III.

Meanwhile, the Congress has gauged the voting pattern after the first phase of polling. The party has already cleared that it will not go for post-poll alliance with any party in UP. However, to capitalize the Muslim vote bank the Congress has fielded Salman Khurshid and Beni Prasad Verma to keep the Muslim sub-quota into limelight.

Therefore, considering the population of Muslim voters in sixth and seventh phase constituencies like Ferozabad, Patiyali seat of Etah and Kalyanpur, Sesamau, Arya Nagar and Cantt seat of Kanpur, the Congress and the SP are trying to woo them with their poll planks. 

It is to be mentioned that Kanpur has the second highest percentage of Muslim voters after Aligarh. In each of the above mentioned seats of Kanpur, there are 19-20 percent Muslim voters. On the other, out of 68 seats in the sixth phase and 60 seats of seventh phase, Muslims have dominance on 25 and 31 seats respectively.

(JPN/Bureau)