Varanasi: Taking a clue from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress has also played the card of ‘communal polarisation’ in Uttar Pradesh to grab Muslim votes. While the BJP is wooing the Hindus on the issue of building Ram temple in Ayodhya; the Congress has made an effort to please the Muslim community of Purvanchal by capitalising on the Batla House encounter case.

How much will the Congress benefit from it remains to be seen but it has thrown the doors wide open for the BJP. Financial package for weavers in the state, reservation for the Muslims and aid to Madarsas were some of the methods adopted by the Congress in previous elections to woo the Muslims. However these methods failed to change the fortune of the Congress in the state and therefore the party has raked the Batla issue this time and split the Purvanchal politics into two.

While general secretary Digvijay Singh under Project Azamgarh tried to pacify the wrath of the Muslim community following Batla House incident, he also questioned the credibility of the claims of Home Minister and the Prime Minister in this case. The Law Minister Salman Khurshid has once again fueled the issue by revealing the tearful reaction of Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi on seeing the video footage of the controversial encounter.

Observing the caste equations in Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur lined up for the second phase of polls, the Congress raked up the Batla House encounter issue. But it is highly unlikely that the Muslim voters of the Samajwadi Party will change loyalties.
The sudden wave of sympathy for the victims of the Batla House encounter and statements made by Congress leaders has raised several other questions. The strategy of the Congress of providing aid to Madrasas has not boded well with the Hindus who have questioned the apathy of political parties towards Sanskrit schools in the region.

Ironically, the weavers who are mostly from the Muslim community have failed to get any benefit from the aid provided to them. Though reservation for Muslims will help the community especially the backward, whether the calculated equation would work for the Congress or not, awaits to be seen.