The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s first list of 63 candidates for poll-bound Jharkhand doesn’t have a single Muslim name despite requests from the party’s minorities’ wing, sources said on Tuesday.
Polling for the tribal-dominated state’s 81 assembly seats will be held in five phases between November 25 and December 20.
The party’s state minorities’ cell president said he had asked top BJP leaders to nominate Muslim candidates from five assembly constituencies that have a high percentage of Muslim voters.
“We requested the high command to field Muslim nominees for Pakur, Madhupur, Hatia, Tundi and Gande seats,” said Mohammad Kazim.
?The BJP has fielded former chief minister Arjun Munda from Kharsawan, national vice-president Raghubar Das from Jamshedpur east and former senior JMM leader Hemlal Murmu from Barhait among big names.
The party, in contrast, has fielded 10 Muslim candidates for the Jammu & Kashmir election which will be held simultaneously with the Jharkhand polls.
“We have been loyal to the BJP and were hoping to get at least one ticket. But that seems unlikely now,” Kazim said.
The BJP will announce 10 more candidates for Jharkhand this week while its ally AJSU will fight the remaining eight seats.
The party’s state president, Ravindar Rai, however, said the leadership’s focus was on winning seats and not the candidates’ religious identities.
The Congress broke off its alliance with the ruling JMM last month after sharing power for about 16 months, boosting the BJP’s chances in the state.
Despite winning the Haryana and Maharashtra polls in October the BJP was wary of taking on the grand UPA alliance comprising Congress, JMM, RJD and JD (U), analysts said.