Congress may lose a section of Muslim votes in Rajasthan

Congress may lose a section of Muslim votes in Rajasthan

Courtesy : Nationalist Bureau08/11/2018 09:04

The possibility of a split in votes in constituencies with a significant percentage of Muslims has left the Congress worried in Rajasthan.

 Though rebel and Independent candidates from the community had harmed the party’s prospects in the previous election, Muslim activists have accused the Congress of fielding “weak candidates”. The Muslim community’s representation in the present Assembly is at a low, with only two MLAs elected on BJP ticket in the 2013 polls. The Congress had fielded 16 Muslim candidates, including some sitting MLAs, Cabinet Ministers and popular community leaders, but none of them could win.

Fewer names

In the middle of the ticket distribution exercise in Delhi, there were indications that the Congress would field fewer Muslim candidates this time.

 Some of the aspirants said the party should promote the local workers who devoted their time and energy, get a grip of the grassroots and stay connected with the voters for the full five years.

Saud Saidi, a Youth Congress leader who contested as an Independent from Tonk in 2013 and lost to the BJP’s Ajit Singh by a margin of 30,300 votes, said honest and dedicated party workers were often neglected and “irrelevant factors” were taken into account for finalising the candidates’ names. “Such an attitude creates resentment and disturbs the political balance, forcing the party members to rebel,” he said.

Mr. Saidi, who has staked his claim for candidature after being appointed co-convener of the PCC grievance redress cell, said no senior leader had spoken to him before or after the previous Assembly elections to convince him of the party’s support to him.

 Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot has only recently launched a forum to interact with “dissatisfied” party workers. There are 14 Assembly seats in the State where the Muslim voters are stated to be in a position to tilt the electoral balance.

 The difference between the votes polled by the winner and loser at some of these seats in 2013 was less than the votes polled by all independent Muslim candidates counted together. Outsider problem PCC minority department president Nizam Qureshi told The Media on Saturday that though allegations of the BJP sponsoring Muslim candidates to split the minority votes were often made, the majorreason for the Congress’s defeat was ticket given to outsiders.

Mr. Qureshi said an analysis of the voting trend in the 2013 election had made it clear that the Congress candidates would have won in the Muslim-dominated constituencies if rebels and Independents had not contested.

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