Lucknow, Jan 17: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday released the first list of 149 candidates for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017. While the BJP’s list includes the names of Muzaffarnagar riot accused Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, no Muslim candidate found place in the first list. The BJP released the first list for the first and second phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, which will be held on February 11 and 15 for 73 and 67 seats respectively. Also Read - France Plans Hefty Punishment Against Those Issuing 'Virginity Certificate' For Marriage
Despite the fact that polling in the first two phases on February 11 and February 15, covers areas with sizeable Muslim population, the BJP didn’t nominate single Muslim candidate. On contrary, the saffron party declared Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana as its candidates from Sardhana and Thana Bhawan respectively. Sangeet Som is accused of having uploaded a video which reportedly sparked communal tension in Muzaffarnagar, which left 62 people dead and rendered 40,000 homeless. Suresh Rana had been arrested for his alleged role in Muzaffarnagar riots. Also Read - As Turkey Urges Muslims to Boycott French Goods, Its Own Products Face Boycott in Saudi Arabia
Apart from Muzaffarnagar riots accused, the BJP also fielded Suchi Mausham Chaudhary, wife of Aishwarya Chaudhary, the prime accused in the Bijnor violence, from Bijnor. Shortly after the BJP released the first list of candidates, protest erupted within the saffron party as many loyalists were ignored. Many outsiders have been given priority over party loyalists in the first list. Out of the seven candidates in Saharanpur, four are ‘outsiders’. Also Read - #BoycottFrenchProducts Trends on Twitter After Emmanuel Macron's Comments on Islam & Prophet Mohammed Spark Outrage
While the BJP ignored Muslim candidates in its first list of candidates, BSP chief Mayawati fielded 12 more Muslim candidates this time to ensure Dalit-Muslim consolidation. Out of the 403 seats up for grabs, the BSP fielded Muslim candidates for 97 seats.
Muslims account for nearly 20 per cent of the voters in Uttar Pradesh. Muslims, who had by and large supported the SP in the 2012 elections, are in dilemma following the factional fight between Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. The seven phased election for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly will conclude on March 8 and results will be announced on March 11.