The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 39 of 74 seats where the Muslim electorate ranged from 21 to 95% in the 2014 general election. The BJP-led coalition enjoyed a higher success rate of Muslim seats from three states, where the party has no real presence, are not taken into account. The coalition had a success rate of an enviable 75% in 52 seats when the remaining 22 seats (17 in West Bengal, 3 in Kashmir valley and 2 in Kerala) from the 74 were not taken into account. Even the secular parties have not enjoyed such strong support since 1989. The BJP won Uttar Pradesh's all 16 seats where the Muslim electorate is between 21 and 50%. In Bihar, of the nine seats, NDA won five.
The numbers may lead one to deduce that Muslims have voted for BJP candidates, but that's not really the case. Except for in western UP, still recovering from last year's Muzaffarnagar riots, where Hindu consolidation helped the BJP win seats, in the other regions, it was the division if Muslim votes that worked in the BJP's favour. Mayawati, the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which failed to win a single seat in the Parliament, explained this phenomenon, saying the Congress and Samajwadi Party's tactics confused the Muslims. As a result, majority Muslim votes went to SP, which also had a positive effect on the BJP's vote share. "Muslims will definitely regret it, and it is well known that at first, they first get and later they regret it," said Mayawati.
Her analysis is evident if one looks at party-wise votes polled. In Allahabad, the SP and BSP together polled 4,13,836 votes against the BJP's 3,13,772; In Rampur, where the Muslim electorate is 50 per cent, the SP and Congress got 4,91,647 votes against the BJP's 3,58,616. Likewise, in Moradabad, the SP and BSP polled 5,48,565 votes against the BJP's 4,85,224 while in Saharanpur, which has 39% Muslim electorate, the Congress, SP and BSP together got 8,77,975 votes compared to 4,72,999 for the BJP.
"By focusing on Mayawati and Mulayam Singh as Muslim appeasers in an atmosphere of perpetual communal tension, Amit Shah succeeded in luring Dalits and OBCs into the burgeoning Hindu Parivar," said analyst Saeed Naqvi, giving Shah credit for altering UP's political sociology. He pointed out that while Mulayam and Mayawati were busy luring Muslims, they didn't realise that their own core base of Dalits and OBCs was slipping away from their fold. "The challenge for Modi now is to reach out to a frightened electorate that has grown accustomed to caste protection for the past 25 years. The most rudderless, running helter-skelter for security, have been the Muslims," he said.