Even though its ascent was predicted, the lesser known Peace Party of India’s lead in the Congress stronghold of Rae Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh was completely unexpected. Not only is PPI leading in the Gandhi bastion, but also in five other constituencies.
The party’s win of relatively small 100,000 votes in the 2009 national elections had made clear that it would emerge as an important regional force in UP.
Formed in 2008, the party was born with the intent of pushing a member of the Muslim community to the chair of chief minister. The Congress had at the time alleged that this was a move by Mayawati to split the Muslim vote in the state between rivals Congress, SP and PPI, which would eventually benefit her party. PPI, however, denied the claim.
The Indian Express reported that by January the party had declared 230 candidates, and already had alliances with the Bundelkhand Congress Party and the late Sone Lal Patel’s Apna Dal.
After the 2009 performance, the party surpassed votes won by Samajwadi Party and Congress in the June 2010 by-elections. Peace Party president Dr Mohammad Ayub is known to be a familiar face in Muslim politics in the state and is a candidate from Khalilabad seat.
The paper further reports that the party had drawn attention for having a curious list of criminals as well as IAS and IPS officers.
CNN-IBN reported that the party was also open to the idea of supporting the Samajwadi Party if it were to fall short of a majority.