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Home > News > India News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 Muzaffarnagar baaki hai

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Muzaffarnagar baaki hai

Updated on: 20 April,2024 07:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faisal Tandel |

Ten years after riots hit this part of UP, creating a huge political impact, mid-day visits the western UP constituency to gauge the mood of the people

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Muzaffarnagar baaki hai

Eshan Ali (second from left), a doctor from the Bhangeela village in Muzaffarnagar, along with other villagers

Community voters in western Uttar Pradesh might influence political change, especially given the historical context of the Muzaffarnagar riots and shifting political sentiments. The diversity of perspectives among Muslims and Rajput adds complexity to the region’s political landscape. It will be interesting to see how these 
dynamics play out in upcoming election results and whether they lead to any significant shift in representation or policies. 

The first phase of the seven phases of Lok Sabha elections took place on April 19 in eight constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh, including Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzafarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Nagina and Pilibhit.

mid-day visited the villages and parts of Muzafarnagar where riots broke out around a decade ago, interacting with Muslims, Rajput and Hindus to learn that people here need a change.

The Rajput took a decision to go against BJP. We met Thakur Puran Singh, 47, the founder of Kisan Majdoor Sanghatan. He hails from Nasirpur village in Muzafarnagar which has around 700 houses. Singh who headed the farmers’ protest a few months ago said they started a campaign against the BJP by walking around villages in the eight constituencies and meeting people from the community.

Thakur Puran Singh, along with villagers from Nasirpur, MuzafarnagarThakur Puran Singh, along with villagers from Nasirpur, Muzafarnagar

“It was a ‘chatriya swabhiman yatra’ for our respect and dignity. We were the core voters, but have things changed in the past few years? I am sure that the whole community has voted against them. We haven’t seen whether it’s Iqra Hasan from Kairana or Imran Masood from Saharanpur… we just vote for the constitution,” he said, adding that the community is strong enough and doesn’t need leaders to save them. “The riots were a small incident that resulted in a big issue which later ignited politically. But on the ground, both communities are staying happily together.”

According to Singh, the polls in western Uttar Pradesh will decide the further political landscape of the state. “The five seats including the Muzafarnagar, Saharanpur, Kairana, Bagphat and Bijnor were only in the hands of BJP because of the Rajput votes. The population here is mostly Muslim and Rajput. The Rajput are against the BJP,” he said.

Singh further stated that Kairana had around 7.50 lakh Muslim voters and 1.15 lakh Rajput voters, Muzafarnagar [50 lakh Muslim; 1.35 lakh Rajput], Saharnpur [7.50 lakh Muslim; 1.35 lakh Rajput] and Bijnor [6.59 lakh Muslim; 1.20 lakh Rajput]. “The figure itself has disturbed them. Even if the Rastriya Lok Dal party is supporting them, they hardly have a majority bigger than this community.”

Salim Kasar from Bhangeela villageSalim Kasar from Bhangeela village

Satpal Singh, a Rajput farmer from the village, said they need a change this time. “They are just playing divide and rule. Earlier they were playing the community card by making Hindus and Muslims against each other. Now they are playing the cast politics here. Their lies are now known to everyone. The government claims they have made roads, but at the start of every road, there is a toll booth and our pockets are emptied. Where is the taxpayers’ money going then?”

Ankit Sharma 28, who works in a private bank said his brother is still waiting for a government job. “The government claims they have provided jobs. Two months ago the Uttar Pradesh police started recruiting. They held exams and the papers got leaked after which the exams were postponed. There are vacancies for around 60,000 policemen. For the last two to three years many youngsters are just waiting to be policemen,” he claimed.

In Bhangeela village in Muzafarnagar mid-day spoke to a few voters. Salim Kasar, who irons clothes for a living, said I am now 72 and have been voting since I was 20 years old. “The only thing our village has is a road to reach. But there is no school or hospital and for every small thing we have to move towards the city. It’s been a decade and there has been no change. Shouldn’t the coming generation have better opportunities? Or must we stay in the village doing odd jobs?”

Eshan Ali 38, a doctor from the Bhangeela claims the village has around 800 Muslim voters and around 2,600 others. “Harendra Malik, the Samajwadi party candidate has built cemetary walls and is doing good for us. Why should we vote for the BJP which is completely against the Muslims here. They are playing the religion game and are against us. They have removed mics and loudspeakers from our mosque. The Supreme Court says it is okay within permissible noise level limits but they have just removed them. But mics and speakers are allowed in temples. If Samajwadi party comes to power at least we will be able to hear azaan.”

Rashid Kasar, 43, another villager from Khatauli in Muzafarnagar, said, “The Muslims are mostly with the Samajwadi party. We are not aware of the riots that took place here as we still have brotherhood. We only speak about the change we need. If an MBA degree holder has to sell chaat on the streets then what is the use.”

Meanwhile, Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, the two-time MP who is contesting on a BJP ticket for the third time said, “People trust and support me. The results will prove them all wrong. Allegations about people not being allowed to vote are fake.”

Three-way battle

The Muzafarnagar constituency has three candidates.: the sitting MP Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan from BJP, Harendra Singh Malik from the Samajwadi party which has an alliance with Congress, and Dara Singh Prajapati from the BSP. In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Sanjeev Kumar Balyan won the Muzafarnagar constituency by 
securing 5,73,780 votes, while 5,67,254 votes went in favour of Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal. Balyani had a victory with a margin of 6,526 votes.

Call for deploymentof special forces

Harendra Singh Malik, the Samajwadi party candidate from Muzaffarnagar, had written to the Chief Election Commissioner, New Delhi, asking for paramilitary forces to be deployed in BJP candidate Sanjeev Baliyan’s village (Kutba Kutbi) due to “booth capturing by BJP agents deployed there”. He also stated that voters were being beaten up and chased away. “In the interest of justice, paramilitary forces should be immediately sent to village Kutba Kutbi so that fair elections can be held and everyone can cast their votes,” the letter states. However, the police denied any such incident took place.

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