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Meerut?s ?invisible? aspirants

india Updated: Oct 24, 2006 01:09 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
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People set to vote for candidates whom they have not seen

THE PEOPLE of Meerut are in a dilemma. They are being wooed by such mayoral candidate whom they have not seen at all.

These ‘invisible’ candidates are UP United Democratic Front’s (UPUDF) Hajjan Sanjida Begum, wife of Haj and Minorities Welfare Minister Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, and BSP supported candidate Hajjan Zubeda Begum, aunt of BSP MP Shahid Akhlaq. 

While the election campaign is now in final stages, the voters have so far not been able to even have a glimpse of the two Muslim candidates.

While Sanjida Begum’s banners and posters carry the picture of her husband Haji Yaqoob, Zubada’s publicity material has Shahid Akhlaq photos instead.

The two Hajjans (Hajjan is feminine gender of Haji) have been campaigning in the area strictly under veil from top to toe.

Interestingly, they were in veil at the time of filing their nomination papers also. Since nobody objected, the returning officers also did not bother to see their faces and match them with pictures affixed on the forms.

“There is no need to see the faces if the returning officer was satisfied with the pictures,” commented additional commissioner, State Election Commission, Vinay Priya Dubey here on Monday.

When told about the Meerut case, Dueby said in case of any objection, women officers could be deployed to check the photographs.

Dubey recalled that this problem had cropped up during district panchayat elections and lady officers were deployed to identify the Muslim panchayat members who did not wish to lift their “naqab” (veil).

On the other hand, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Shaista Khan has been campaigning without the veil.

The Congress has fielded Indira Bharati and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s low profile candidate is Madhu Gujjar. While the prestige of all the husbands, whose wives are in the fray is at stake, Haji Yaqoob has deployed all his might to wrest the seat from the Bahujan Samaj Party.

In fact the minister’s plan suddenly went haywire when the state election commission reserved Meerut seat for women in general category. Qureshi was left with no alternative but to push his wife into troubled political waters under the banner of UPUDF, which is headed by his elder brother Yusuf Qureshi.

All said and done, it would be an electoral record of sorts if people go on an elected the Meerut mayor without having a glimpse of her.