Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on her birthday on Saturday released the first list of 53 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections next month. The former chief minister announced the list at a press conference in Lucknow, which has 13 Muslim names. The party had also earlier announced two candidates from the minority community.
Muslim candidates in the first list of BSP include Haji Mohammad Anees from Budhana, Salman Saeed from Charthawal, Majid Siddiqui from Khatauli, Mohammad Salim from Meerapur, Mohammad Mukarram alias Nanhe Khan from Siwalkhaas, Kunwar Dilshad Ali from Meerut South, Mohammad Shaheen Chaudhary from Chaprauli, Haji Aqeel Chaudhary from Loni, Haji Ayub Idrisi from Muradnagar, Mohammad Arif from Gadhmukteshwar, Mohamamd Fareed from Shikarpur, Mohammad Bilal from Kol and Raziya Khan from Aligarh.
The BSP supremo had tweeted on Thursday about fielding Noman Masood, Imran Masood’s brother from Gangoh assembly seat. His name, however, was missing from the list.
The BJP, despite mobilising RSS-linked Muslim Rashtriya Manch to appeal to minority voters, has not named a single Muslim in its first list of 107 candidates, whereas rivals Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal included nine names from the minority community in their first list of 29 candidates.
The SP-RLD alliance is likely to release another list of candidates for the first and second phases later in the day or even Sunday. Muslim candidates in SP-RLD’s first list include Nahid Hasan from Kairana, Shahid Manzur from Kithaur, Rafiq Ansari from Meerut, Aslam Chaudhary from Dhaulana, Salman Saeed from Kol, and Zafar Alam from Aligarh on SP tickets; as well as Ahmad Hameed from Baghpat, Haji Younus from Bulandshahr and Dilnawaz Khan from Syana on RLD tickets.
Uttar Pradesh will have elections in seven phases – on February 10, 14, 20, 23 and 27; and then on March 3 and 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.
The first phase will begin from western Uttar Pradesh and gradually move towards the eastern part of the state, culminating in Purvanchal. The 2017 assembly polls, too, began in West UP. Voting will be held in 58 assembly seats in the first phase and 64 in the final phase.