Manipur Election 2017: BJP leaves Muslim candidates for Assembly polls out in the cold


Muslims aspiring for BJP tickets in the upcoming Manipur Assembly elections have been left out in the cold. The BJP has given the go ahead to just 1 of the 17 Muslim candidates who sought party tickets for five assembly seats in upcoming polls on 4 and 8 March the Economic Times reported.
Representational photo. PTI

Representational photo. PTI

The BJP, while announcing their first list of candidates for 31 out of 60 seats, approved candidates from the Meitei community even in areas which have large Muslim populations such as Keirao, Wabgai and Wangkhem.
Md Anwar Hussain, the sole Muslim candidate approved by the party, will contest from Lilong — a constituency with the largest Muslim population in the state.The next list is expected over the next couple of days. Md Salam Khan and Md Habibur Rehman, the BJP state unit president and vice president of Minority Morcha were also denied tickets. Rehman has now joined the JD(U) and will contest from Wagbai, India Today reported.
Khan, who joined BJP in 2014 after being member of the Congress for over 10 years, had sought to contest from Keirao seat. He lost out to L Rameshwor Meitei. Khan, expressing disappointment with the way the BJP has distributed tickets, lamented the fact that the ticket had been given to an individual who joined the BJP just two months ago. Khan said that while he would remain with the BJP, the manner in which the tickets were distributed made it more difficult for him to explain the BJP's intentions in the state to the Muslim community.
He also said this move made it more difficult to counter the Congress' propaganda that BJP wanted a minority-less government in Manipur. He said out of a total of 60 seats in Manipur there are 18 constituencies, where Muslim votes are swing factors, which BJP will now find it difficult to garner. "When you give ticket to Muslim for just one seat, that too for a constituency where the community is majority what is the message being sent out to the rest of population in the state?" he wondered.
MI Khan, who joined BJP six months ago after giving up the post of vice president of the state Trinamool Congress unit, said he was lured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ideology and principles, DNA reported. "When you see the pattern of ticket allotments, when deserving Muslim candidates are denied tickets you realise that the BJP isn't for the minority community," Khan said.
Khan, who has decided to contest on an NCP ticket from the Keirao constituency said they would expose the fact that the BJP didn't stand for the minority. "There are 18 constituencies in Manipur where Muslim votes do play a key factor and we will ensure that the community doesn't endorse the communal party. Initially we believed in Narendra Modi sabka saath sabka vikas slogan but after the tickets are distributed there is a question mark raised on the intent of BJP. Its actions are showing to be Hindu-oriented."
While Muslims account for 6 percent of Manipur’s population, which is around 26 lakh, the Meitei community form the Hindu, ethnic majority. In Manipur, the relationship between Meitei and the Muslims has long been a fraught and complicated one. In 1993, one hundred people were killed after riots broke out between the two communities.
The BJP released its first list comprising names of 31 candidates on 23 January. The names were finalized at a party meeting held on 19 January in New Delhi, New Indian Express reported. The meeting was chaired by BJP national president Amit Shah and attended by the prime minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other members of the party’s central election committee. The next list is expected in a day or two in which state BJP Vice President and former bureaucrat AR Khan, who has sought ticket for Kshetrigao seat, will learn about his fate.
With inputs from agencies

Published Date: Jan 29, 2017 13:56 PM | Updated Date: Jan 29, 2017 17:25 PM

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