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LS polls: Congress under pressure to field a Muslim candidate from Mumbai

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LS polls: Congress under pressure to field a Muslim candidate from Mumbai

LS polls: Congress under pressure to field a Muslim candidate from Mumbai

Mumbai, April 29 (Ajit Weekly News) Amid finger-pointing and an eyeball-to-eyeball row unfolding, pressure is now building on the top Congress leadership to field a Muslim candidate from Mumbai for the upcoming May 20 Lok Sabha elections, sources said here on Monday.

The development came a day after Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge — without taking names — indicated in Assam that the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies in Maharashtra could probably have reservations about fielding a Muslim candidate in the state or Mumbai.

Taking umbrage, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut painstakingly cleared the air to say that any such impression conveyed to the Congress leadership was misleading and erroneous.

“We have never said to the Congress to field this candidate or not nominate some other contender… it is the party’s internal matter. We shall welcome any candidate they decide and work wholeheartedly to ensure their victory,” asserted Raut.

Apprehensive of a possible backlash, senior Congress leaders like Chandrakant Handore, MP, ex-Minister Suresh Shetty, MLC Bhai Jagtap and MPCC treasurer Amarjit Manhas held a meeting to soothe state Congress Working President M. Arif Naseem Khan, besides assuring that they would take up the matter with the party top levels.

A senior source said that a letter had been sent to the central party leadership to reconsider Prof. Gaikwad’s nomination and accommodate Khan in Mumbai North Central since he is a prominent local leader.

The leaders have also urged the party to field Prof. Gaikwad from Mumbai North constituency which has a fair sprinkling of Dalit, minorities and OBC voters, and expressed optimism that this could resolve the problem amicably plus save the Muslim support base of the MVA.

Raut declared that Khan is a senior and respected Muslim community leader, an ex-Minister with good credentials and has excellent rapport with the SS (UBT) President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray and other leaders.

“We have absolutely no objections if the Congress fields Khan ‘saheb’ from anywhere, we shall support wholeheartedly to ensure his victory,” said Raut, as Congress leaders heaved a sigh of relief.

Last week, Khan stoked a major row after he quit as the party’s Star Campaigner and the poll campaign panel to protest against the failure of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) to field a single Muslim nominee for the 48 LS seats in Maharashtra.

A peeved Khan dropped dark hints that the blunder could prove costly and the MVA nominees may forfeit the Muslim and other minority votes in the states, particularly where the minorities dominate, amid speculation that the SS (UBT) reportedly was reluctant to support a Muslim candidate.

Assuring that he was “not a rebel”, Khan, an ex-Minister, made his displeasure public after the Congress named city party President Prof. Varsha Gaikwad as the Mumbai North Central constituency candidate but did not oppose her nomination.

“Now, it is up to the Central leadership in Delhi to take a call on Khan for Mumbai North Central, which he was very keen to contest, and nominate Prof. Gaikwad from Mumbai North,” said a state party leader.

Incidentally, around 35 years ago, there was a precedent when the Congress had nominated late ex-Minster Celine D’Silva from Mumbai North East, but following an uproar had replaced her with the late ex-Union Minister Gurudas Kamat, in the 1989 LS polls, he added.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected] )

–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S
#polls #Congress #pressure #field #Muslim #candidate #Mumbai

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