The Congress that was facing flak for not giving Muslim leaders adequate representations in MP elections seems to have made amends by giving tickets to the community members in civic body polls.
Muslim leaders had been raising the voice for better representation for quite some time now. In the recently held Lok Sabha elections, no Muslim was given ticket by the party, first such instance in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier, in assembly elections, just five Muslims were fielded and only one could win the election.
Now, the party leaders claim tickets have been given to Muslims in the civic body elections, as per their strength.
"After a long time, a Muslim has been given a mayoral ticket in a big city. Of the nine municipal corporations that are going to polls, Ismail Ansari has been fielded from Burhanpur. Over a dozen Muslims have been fielded for the post of chairperson in municipal councils. Also, hundreds of candidates have been given tickets for the post of corporators," said a Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) functionary, wishing anonymity.
The Congress member said that 5,000 tickets (most of them for post of corporators) have been given to candidates in 280 urban bodies that are going to polls, and among them nearly 450 are Muslims, which is 9%. "This is almost equal to the percentage of Muslims in the state," he added.
"Take for example, Sheopur, a municipal council, where Mohammad Siddiq is our candidate for the post of chairman. Besides, among the 23 posts of corporators, eight of our candidates are Muslims," the leader said, adding: "Similarly, at many other places, tickets have been given to Muslims".
But Congress leader Akbar Beg expressed satisfaction over ticket distribution. "After a long time, a Muslim has been given ticket for mayor’s post from a major city - Burhanpur -- which has a strong Muslim population," Beg said.
State Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra said the party has given adequate representation to Muslims.
"Our focus was on giving tickets to youth, women and minorities. Not just Muslims, other communities have also been given due representation," Mishra added. However, all the leaders are not happy.
Senior Congress leader Syed Sajid Ali resigned from the party posts, as he felt that deserving Muslim candidates were not given ticket at many places.