New Delhi, Feb 7: Uttar Pradesh is all set for the Assembly elections 2017, the first phase of which will be held on February 11, 2017. Amidst the much craze and campaigns for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017, the 2013 riot-hit Muzaffarnagar too is getting ready for the polls with much hope from whichever party gains the power in the upcoming Assembly elections 2017.

Apart from riot-hit Muslims in Muzaffarnagar, which left over 50,000 displaced, inter-communal riots after Babri Mosque demolition in Ayodhya, and distressed farmers in several parts of UP too are ready for the elections. Many of the riot-hit people are still living in a tiny colony, 30 kms away from Muzaffarnagar city, which was made to provide a sort of living space to the homeless victims of the chaotic Hindu-Muslim riots of 2013.

“My brother’s son was slaughtered by the Jats,” says Sepi whose house was also burnt down in the riots. The Akhilesh Yadav government, which had come to power a year back and was also slammed for poor management of the situation, however, became a savior for the riot-hit Muslims especially Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. “Akhilesh gave us Rs 5 lakhs as compensation. Had it been some other party in power, we don’t know if we would have got anything. Since we got the money we could get some land and make a house. Otherwise my mother would have died, my life would be destroyed. At least I have a shelter for my family now,” said Sepi, reports Indian Express. Sepi is even certain that all the people in the colony would vote for Akhilesh Yadav in the upcoming elections.

Jinhone hum ujre hue ko basaya hum unhe hi vote denge. Humare jakham pe mallham lagai. Jo woh humein 5 lakh rupaye nahin dete toh kya pata hum kahan dhakke khate firte, humare bachhe mar jate. Unhone basa toh diya humein (We will vote for those who helped us settle down and applied medicine on our wounds. Had they not given us Rs 5 lakh as compensation, who knows where we would go? Our children would have died. At least they helped us settled down),” said Aslam who fled Fugana, one of the nine worst-hit places in Muzaffarnagar after the riots. Akhilesh Yadav is definitely the hero of the Muzaffarnagar riots victims.

In fact, Akhilesh Yadav is seemed to be getting much support from even those who did not receive any compensation. “Humein toh muwavza nahin mila. Baki jo danga peerit wale hain jinhe mawavza mila, unki support mein humein thodi bohot riyadh mil gayi. Hum bhi apna aaram se tukda kha rahe hain, (We did not get any compensation. But other riot victims got. We got some relief through their support. We are also eating peacefully)” says Islam from Shaikul Hind Nagar, another colony populated by riots victims.

Akhilesh Yadav soon became the face of a “knight in shining armour” who had also promised to eradicate the caste-based politics in Uttar Pradesh. The people had seen a young man who would take the state to a new height with technology and development. In fact, it was the Samajwadi Party which was responsible for the calm after Babri Mosque demolition riots between Hindu and Muslims. The patriarch of SP Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had founded the party in 1990s, even earned the name “Mullah Mulayam”. The riots have been so deeply ingrained in the minds and hearts of the people that the help from Akhilesh Yadav made him the voice of Muslims, as Mayawati was made the voice of backward castes in Uttar Pradesh before Akhilesh  Yadav came to power.

However, the Samajwadi Party was also attacked and slammed for poor management of the whole situation and also for having instigated the violence while aiming to normalize the two communities. “45 per cent of surveyed UP population, including Muslims, blamed Samajwadi Party for the riots while 13 percent blamed the BJP,” said a survey conducted by Lokniti for CNN-IBN in January 2014.

However, the Jat community, another faction hit by the riots, isn’t much happy with all this. “Sapa ne Hinduon ko toh kuch nahin diya. Dange mein Hindu mare bhi the. Unhe toh kuch nahin diya (SP did not give anything to the Hindus. Hindus had also died in the riots. They did not get anything),” says Dharamveer Singh. Singh also explained that there are many Hindu boys who are still struggling to clear their names from the allegations of molesting Muslim women while saying that the riots were started by Muslims. The riots in the Uttar Pradesh has left the whole state broken and in devastation. But again, it is a game of thrones and a game of numbers.