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Cong’s Muslim lesson

The party has reject suggestions that it should field more candidates keeping in the mind that Muslims comprise more than nine per cent of the population.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2007 01:39 IST

The Congress could be regretting the fact that it put up only six Muslim candidates. For five of them won.

Through the campaign, the party had rejected suggestions that it should field more candidates keeping in the mind that Muslims comprise more than nine per cent of the population. The leadership countered the argument saying that six were a fair representation. The candidate’s chances of winning his or her seat were also important criteria.

Sharif Khan Pathan, a prominent Muslim leader from the state, however, said the very fact that five out of six Muslim candidates won their seat, there should have been more candidates from the community.

The five candidates won from the constituencies of Jamalpur, Wankaner, Vagra, Kalupur and Shahpur. The BJP did not put up a single candidate for the 182-seat House. Five years ago, the Congress had put up four candidates, out of which three had won.

One of the most convincing victories among the five winners was that of Khedawala Sabirbhai Abdulkarim from Jamalpur constituency. He won with an emphatic margin, defeating his BJP rival by nearly 20,000 votes.

Its candidate from Wankaner, Pirjada Mahmajavid, defeated his BJP rival by more than 18000 votes.

The fight between Congress’ candidate in Shahpur, Shaikh Gyasuddin Habibuddin, and his BJP opponent was one of the closest in the state. Habibuddin won by a slender margin of 922 votes. Although Habibuddin has won the seat three consecutive times with comfortable margins, this time, nominees of the BSP, the Republican Party of India, the New Socialist Party and an Independent seemed to have cut into his share.

The sole Muslim woman put up by the Congress, Dr Babi Shehnaz, however, lost from Junagadh. She was defeated by her BJP rival Mashru Mahendrabhai by a margin of over 30,000 votes.