Did 'Triple Talaq' issue help BJP win Muslim women's votes in UP elections?

With over 300 seats in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party is set to end 14 years' 'vanvas' by forming the next government in Lucknow. It's a historic mandate for the BJP. Even Samajwadi Party could not get as many seats in 2012.

The BJP has decimated the Samajwadi Party government in India's most crucial state assembly election. With over 300 seats in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party is set to end 14 years' 'vanvas' by forming the next government in Lucknow. It's a historic mandate for the BJP. Even Samajwadi Party could not get as many seats in 2012.

The BJP has won 311 seats in a House of 403. And out of all assembly seats there are over 100 Muslim dominated constituencies where the BJP never had, in past, any substantial presence. And the results in Muslim dominated areas has quite obviously surprised many politicians. Such was Modi's charisma that it has won in many Muslim dominated areas. In one such case, the saffron party won the Deoband assembly seat where over 71 per cent populations are Muslims.

However, former chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati was the first to react on BJP's surprising surge. She said: "Most votes in Muslim majority constituencies have gone to BJP, makes it evident that voting machines were manipulated. Either the EVMs did not accept votes other than the BJP, or the votes of other parties have gone to the BJP in the EVMs."

But, what has changed in all these years that the BJP got such a huge mandate in a state where caste has been a decisive factor for years? Prime Minister Narendra Modi's strategic move to raise the triple talaq issue seems to have changed the game for BJP. Ahead of the election, the Prime Minister said the government will ensure that constitutional rights of Muslim women will be protected.

He was referring to the polygamy and Triple Talaq under Muslims Personal Law. Speaking on 'Triple Talaq' the Prime Minister said: "Is it fair for a man to say talaq thrice over the phone and a Muslim woman's life to be ruined? The government will ensure that constitutional rights of Muslim women are protected. This issue shouldn't be politicised. there are some political parties which are indulging in vote bank politics and doesn't want Muslim women to get their natural rights."

Triple talaq' is a practice among Muslims that dissolves a marriage when the Muslim husbands say 'talaq' thrice. However, this practice is banned in 22 countries of the world including several Muslim-dominated countries. The triple talaq practice has been severely criticised for being biased towards Muslim women.

It was expected that the BJP could gain Muslim women's vote after Prime Minister openly talked about their constitutional rights. A Kanpur-based political analyst said that it was Modi's calculated risk to reach out to Muslim women by talking about triple talaq.

"As a prime minister it is Modi's duty to talk about prevalent social evils even if it means annoying the Hindu community or the Muslim community. There is bound to be differences because BJP is in power but he is making an effort to ensure that it is not seen as a Hindu-Muslim issue since he is talking about the social evils among Hindus and Muslims by talking about female infanticide and triple talaq," The Mint d political analyst AK Verma as saying.