The Congress party has slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh for nominating only one Muslim candidate to contest in the November 25 state assembly elections, alleging that the party is trying to "fool" the community.
Criticising chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh Congress minority cell president, Mohammad Salim said on Friday that though the CM "embraced the minority community during festivals and donned skull caps," it was a fact that his party has given ticket only to a single candidate in the entire state, which is an "attempt to fool the community."
In comparison to the BJP, Congress has fielded five candidates from the community from various constituencies.
Besides Arif Aqueel from Bhopal North, Congress has also fielded Arif Masood from Bhopal Central, Abdul Majeed Khan from Rewa, Firoz Ahmed from Mudwara and Yusuf Kadapa from Jaora assembly seats.
"We demanded nearly 20-22 seats for minority community in the state and got a total of 10 tickets including five for Muslim candidates," Madhya Pradesh Congress minority cell president, Mohammad Salim told PTI on Friday.
Former Union minister Arif Baig (78) is the lone Muslim nominee for the BJP from the north Bhopal constituency which the party won only once in 1992.
"Though Baig is a senior leader, he won't be able to cut much ice with the voters this time as he does not even have a team of dedicated workers," Salim said.
"If BJP is serious about Muslim welfare then it should implement the Sachhar Committee report in toto," he said.
The saffron party defended itself by saying that it does play religion- or caste-based politics.
BJP's minority front president in Madhya Pradesh, Hidayatullah Sheikh said, "BJP never believes in giving ticket to candidates on the basis of religion or caste and it's only criterion is winning factor."
Justifying Baig's candidature, he said "One Arif Baig is enough to strengthen the voice of the entire community in the state and he will prove his mettle in the days to come."
The five seats to which Congress has given tickets to Muslim candidates, the party had won two - Bhopal North and Jaora - in 2008 while BJP was victorious in Rewa, Bhopal Central and Mudwara.