Muslims in Madhya Pradesh, seeking more political space, say they are disappointed with the candidate lists of both the Bharatiya Janata (BJP) and the Congress – before the state's November 28th elections.
The BJP only launched a Muslim candidate, Fatima Siddiqui, from Bhopal (north) in the 230-member assembly. Siddiqui is the daughter of Rasool Ahmed Siddiqui, a former state minister. The Congress has three Muslim candidates – Arif Aqueel, Bhopal MLA (North), Hamid Haji of Burhanpur and Arif Masood of Bhopal (Central).
Mohammad Mahir, president of Madhya Pradesh, the Muslim Vikas Parishad, a nonprofit organization that supports the socio-economic development of the community, said Muslims had little expectation from the BJP, which occupied only three Muslim candidates since 1993 (all three lost ). But he said he "waits for more Congress tickets".
Congress is trying to end the long-term BJP government in Madhya Pradesh in the elections.
Muslims have only one member (Aqueel of Congress) in their community in the assembly, though they account for about 8-9% of the 78 million state population, political analysts say. In 2013, while Congress offered tickets for five Muslims, BJP sang only Arif Beg, who lost to the Aqueel Congress in northern Bhopal.
In 2008, Congress offered tickets for five Muslim candidates and only Aqueel won from Bhopal North. The Bhopal database, Sajid Ali, who was also a candidate at the Bhopal Congress in Lok Sabha in 2004, said: "We need Muslims to represent Muslims. At present, Madhya Pradesh does not have a leader Muslim nationwide commanding instant loyalty, for which we have to blame the Congress leaders whom we have traditionally supported ourselves. "
The reason for skepticism is natural. Congress recently announced the post of chairman of the Pradesh PCC Congress Committee in Madhya Pradesh and four working presidents – none of them were Muslims.
"It's all due to the so-called Hindutva software, where Congress leaders wear their religion on their sleeves," says Mahir.
Chief Arif Masood says that "while it is true that BJP has made a certain penetration among Muslims, they are still suspicious."
In response to the question of whether the party gave less tickets to Muslims because of its soft-Hindutva approach, Congress spokesman JP Dhanopia said: "There is no Hindutva software available to candidates who have the potential to win. "
The lone Muslim voice in the assembly and the MLA Congress Aqueel four times is much more positive about the chances that Muslims receive party tickets. "There are nine places where Muslims are around 50% of the population and there are 10 places where they have a population of 40,000 to 50,000 and can prove to be decisive during the election," he said.
Date Posted: November 10, 2018 07:53 IST