BJP less likely to field Muslim candidates in Rajasthan & MP: Party sources

BJP less likely to field Muslim candidates in Rajasthan & MP: Party sources

Courtesy : Nationalist Bureau25/10/2018 21:10

New Delhi: Following its Uttar Pradesh model, the BJP is unlikely to field Muslim candidates for the Assembly polls in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Despite a sizeable Muslim population in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP didn’t field a single Muslim candidate in the 2017 Assembly election and the saffron party is planning to do the same in the three poll-bound states too.

A BJP general secretary and a close associate of party president Amit Shah told The Nationalist, “We are avoiding Muslim candidates in all Hindi-belt states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.”

In the 2013 Assembly elections in Rajasthan, the BJP had fielded only two Muslim candidates -- Yunus Khan from Deedwana and Habibur Rehman from Nagaur even though Muslims constitute around nine per cent of the state’s electorate and can influence results in 20 to 25 seats in the state.

The Muslim community in Rajasthan feels that they have lost their political voice, with the chief of Maulana Azad Lok Kalyan Sansthan saying, "The absence of Muslim MLAs is bound to create a divide between the government and the community. The leadership crisis will aggravate the sense of insecurity among Muslims."

Rajasthan minister Yunus Khan is very close to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and he may be the BJP’s single Muslim candidate in the state elections this time.

In 2013 Madhya Pradesh election, the ruling BJP had given tickets to only one Muslim candidate -- former Union Minister Arif Baig -- from North Bhopal constituency, a  seat which the party had won in 1992 only.

Muslims constitute seven to eight per cent of Madhya Pradesh’s population and there are at least 22 Muslim-dominated Assembly constituencies in the state.

When contacted, the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit president Rakesh Singh, however, said, “If Muslim candidates have winning capabilities, certainly we will give them tickets.”

He asserted that “after Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ motto, Muslim voters also vote for BJP candidates, irrespective of their cast and religion”.

Congress too may field fewer Muslim candidates

The Congress too is likely to field fewer Muslim candidates in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh this time.

In 2013, the party had fielded 15 Muslim candidates in Rajasthan but none of them could manage to enter the assembly.

A Rajasthan Congress leader told The Nationalist even though winnability would be the sole criterion for selecting candidates, the party will also adopt “soft Hindutva” for the Assembly elections.

“There is a clear direction from the high command that tickets should be given to candidates who can win. Now the Congress will also follow soft Hindutva,” the state Congress leader said.

A Congress leader said, “The party is looking to defeat the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh by turning its own weapon against itself.”

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BJP less likely to field Muslim candidates in Rajasthan & MP: Party sources

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