Saturday 10 December 2022
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IndiaElectionsAAP denying tickets to Muslims so far in Gujarat; 53 candidates announced

AAP denying tickets to Muslims so far in Gujarat; 53 candidates announced

In a surprise decision, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has so far not fielded a single Muslim candidate among the 53 names announced for assembly constituencies of Gujarat, the polls for which the Election Commission will announce any day.

At Jamalpur Khadia, considered a hub of Muslim votes, people are discussing the fact that of the 53 seats in Gujarat where Kejriwal has finalised candidates, there are nine where Muslim voters are kingmakers, but even those seats have no Muslim candidate fighting for the AAP. Around 30% of Muslims are in Mandvi; 31% of voters are Muslim in Bhuj; Patan has 24% while Danilimana has more than 50% of Muslim voters. About 33% of the voters in Wankaner, about 21% in Dhoraji, about 20% in Jamnagar North, 29% in Mangrol and about 24% in Mahudha are Muslim.

The Indian National Congress (INC), struggling for the past 27 years unsuccessfully to snatch power back from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seized the opportunity to question the impression that Kejriwal's party is pro-Muslim. INC MLA Javed Pirzada said, "Just like BJP does not give tickets to Muslims, the AAP is a 'chhota recharge' of the BJP; it will not give tickets to Muslims either."

"Even if they nominate a few, they will in places where Muslim candidates can never win. Or they will give tickets to spoil the of Muslim candidates where they are winning," Pirzada said.

In the nine Muslim-majority seats a few years ago, the poll have been a mixed bag. In the year 2012, out of these nine seats, four were won by BJP while five seats went to the INC. In the 2017 election results, the BJP won three seats while the INC captured six seats.

Jamalpur sees a palpable presence of Asaduddin Owaisi's party AIMIM too. Javed, a local resident, said, "Modi sahib will come; we are 100% sure. Kejriwal comes and goes. We are not interested in him. Modi sahib is the best for us. For a reason, look at India. The prime minister has taken the country to great heights. Everything is there, Modi sahib is the best."

AIMIM kites were seen flying in quite a few places in Jamalpur. A local resident and kite maker Mohammad Hasim said, "There is no information about whose kite will be snapped and whose will fly here, but our job is to vote. We have to form a strong government, whether it is of the BJP, the kite (AIMIM) or the broom (AAP), we have to bring a new candidate, we will for the one who does the work."

The Jamalpur Khadia seat came into existence in 2008. Earlier, Jamalpur and Khadia were separate seats. Jamalpur was considered an invincible stronghold of the INC, but in 2012, when the first elections were held in Jamalpur Khadia, BJP's Ashok Bhatt won. In 2017, the Muslim majority seat went to the INC. Imran Khedawala is the sitting MLA here.

The INC MLA observed, "If you look at the AAP, everyone knows who they have come to support. Look at their statements, BJP directly benefits from whatever they say. Not only us but also people say that the two parties are one and the same. The AAP has come to benefit the BJP. Kejriwal has not made any statement yet about the minorities. He is shuttling between Gujarat and his base in Delhi. People have understood what kind of a thinking man he is."

About AAP's non-existent Muslim candidates, Latif Rangrez of  Jamalpur said, "The party has given 53 tickets so far. In Delhi and Punjab, the AAP gave tickets to minorities. Here, seven or eight tickets will be given. Many people are asking for tickets, but the AAP is going to give tickets to about 10 Muslims in Gujarat, that is for sure."

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