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Congress may field fewer Muslim candidates in 2019 than it did in 2013

Anil Kumar Singh, a political analyst, said the move appeared to be in sync with the party’s strategic shift to soft Hindutva. “In its campaign so far, the Congress has not raised issues related to minorities at high decibel.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 26, 2018, 07.20 AM IST
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Muslims account for about 9.1% Muslims of Rajasthan’s total population of 6.86 crore, with major concentration in districts such as Jaisalmer (25.1%), Alwar (14.9%), Bharatpur (14.5% and Nagaur (13.7%)
JAIPUR:The Congress is likely to field fewer Muslim candidates in the upcoming assembly election in Rajasthan than the last time round following a decision to grant tickets on winnability alone.

In 2013, the party had fielded 15 Muslim candidates but none of them could manage to enter the assembly, party members told ET on condition of anonymity and added that this time tickets would be given irrespective of caste and religion.

“There is a clear direction from the high command that tickets should be given to candidates who can win. We will not unnecessarily get into any kind of balancing act. At the end of the day, only seats will be counted,” said a senior Congress leader.

Anil Kumar Singh, a political analyst, said the move appeared to be in sync with the party’s strategic shift to soft Hindutva. “In its campaign so far, the Congress has not raised issues related to minorities at high decibel.

Its president, Rahul Gandhi, is visiting temples and offering puja on his visits. It clearly indicates that the Congress looks to ‘kill’ BJP with its own medicine,” he said.

However, Nizam Quereshi, president of the Congress party’s minority cell said t the community had demanded 18-20 seats from the party this time.

“We want greater participation. We are having a state level minority conclave in the next 15 days where we will decide on seats where our candidates are in a winning position,” he said. Muslims account for about 9.1% Muslims of Rajasthan’s total population of 6.86 crore, with major concentration in districts such as Jaisalmer (25.1%), Alwar (14.9%), Bharatpur (14.5% and Nagaur (13.7%).

“The party may field Muslim candidates in these districts, besides offering a couple of tickets in Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu districts also where the minority community has considerable influence in a few pockets,” said a party functionary. In the 2008 election, the Congress had given 14 tickets to minority candidates and of them 10 had won.

But between 1985 and 2003, Muslim candidates crossed the double-digit mark only in 1998, when they won 12 seats. On the other hand, in 1985, 1993 and 2003 they won just four seats each time . “We are confident that our party will get maximum support from the minority community since the BJP is focusing more on Hindu votes,” said the senior Congress leader cited earlier.

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