“Muslim community has not been able to understand the BSP despite that party giving them adequate representation in the past several elections. In this situation, the party will give an opportunity to them in future elections thoughtfully (kaafi soch samajhkar) so that the party does not suffer a terrible loss like this election in future,” Mayawati said in a statement.

Her outburst was driven by the Muslim community’s overwhelming choice of the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance to defeat the BJP. This upset the BSP leadership as Muslims did not vote for the party despite it giving the most tickets to Muslims in the state (19) and across the country (37).

All 19 Muslim candidates fielded by the BSP in UP lost, finishing in the third position, while its competitors for Muslim votes, the SP, won 12 of these seats, and the Congress one. The BJP won the remaining six seats. The last time the BSP fielded 19 Muslims in the Lok Sabha polls was in 2014. Then too, it had lost all 19 seats.

When Mayawati fielded so many Muslim candidates in UP, other Opposition parties accused the BSP of working as the BJP’s “B Team” alleging that her motive was to dent the SP’s votes and help the BJP.

Festive offer

Mayawati had blamed Muslims for her party’s defeat after the 2022 UP Assembly polls too when the party’s vote share fell to 12.88%. At the time, the BSP fielded 88 Muslim candidates, none of whom won. The BSP won just one Assembly seat in that election. At the time too, a majority of Muslims voted for an SP-led alliance.

At the time, Mayawati said the SP and the Muslim community were “responsible and guilty” for the BSP’s collapse. She also said if the BSP had received even 50% of Muslim votes, Hindu voters, especially Brahmins in the state who were upset with the BJP, would have supported her party and that would have been enough to defeat the BJP.

An analysis of the results declared on June 4 shows that in the 79 seats in UP that the BSP contested, its total vote share was 9.39%, which is consistent with the average vote share received by the party’s Muslim candidates in the 19 constituencies. This itself is four percentage points lower than the number of Jatav Dalit voters in the state. Jatavs are considered the BSP’s core voter base. This indicates that along with Muslim votes, the BSP also did not receive the entire Jatav votes.

None of the BSP’s Muslim candidates could come second. Among them, Mashood Sabeeha Ansari who got 17% of the votes in Azamgarh — the highest among BSP’s Muslim candidates — ended third behind the SP’s Dharmendra Yadav and the BJP’s sitting MP Dinesh Lal Yadav, the popular Bhojpuri actor also known as Nirahua. Interestingly, Ansari got 1.79 lakh votes, which was more than Yadav’s victory margin of 1.61 lakh votes.

In Ambedkar Nagar, BSP nominee Qamar Hayat got 16.95% of the votes against the SP’s winner Lalji Verma and the BJP’s sitting MP Ritesh Pandey, both former BSP leaders. In absolute numbers, Hayat got 1.99 lakh votes, which is more than Verma’s victory margin of 1.37 lakh.

The lowest vote share for the BSP’s Muslim candidates was 2.66% from Lucknow, where Defense Minister Rajnath Singh of the BJP won for the third straight time, defeating the SP. Likewise in Maharajganj, where the BJP retained the seat by defeating the Congress, the BSP’s Muslim candidate got only 2.72% votes.

Compared to the BSP, the SP fielded just four Muslim candidates, all of whom won. Iqra Choudhary won from Kairana, Mohibullah from Rampur, Zia Ur Rehman from Sambhal, and Afzal Ansari from Ghazipur. The Congress’s Imran Masood also won from Saharanpur. In Amroha, where sitting MP Kunwar Danish Ali on a Congress ticket lost to the BJP’s Kanwar Singh Tanwar by 28,670 votes, the BSP’s Mujahid Ali came third with 1.64 lakh votes, playing a key role in Danish’s defeat.

Significantly, both Afzal Ansari and Danish Ali were elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019 on BSP tickets. Even though Afzal has not formally joined the SP, he was announced as its candidate in February after the BSP leadership dropped hints of denying him a ticket. Danish joined the Congress after he was suspended by Mayawati in December 2023 on charges of anti-party activities. As for Imran Masood, Mayawati had expelled the prominent western UP Muslim leader in August last year on the charge of indiscipline.

Of the six Muslim candidates the BSP had fielded in 2019 — it had an alliance with the SP and the RLD then — three won. They are Afzal Ansari, Danish Ali, and Haji Fazlur Rehman from Saharanpur.