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New Delhi: No Muslim face this election

india Updated: Mar 21, 2014 10:37 IST
Faizan Haidar

Most political parties don't actually practice what they preach.

Take for instance their claim that the welfare of the Muslim community is one of their priorities. Despite the big talk, the three big parties of Delhi — the Congress, the BJP and AAP — have not fielded a single Muslim from the city.

And their loss may be the Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) gain. The party has fielded two Muslims in the Northeast and East Delhi constituencies, where Muslims have a sizeable population.

"The Congress always talks about the welfare of Muslims but has not given a single ticket to them. Even the AAP, who had the backing of Muslims in the assembly elections, has not fielded a Muslim candidate. We don't expect the BJP to give ticket to Muslims. It is only the BSP that has given them two tickets. For us, every community is equal but the party always gives chances to Dalits and Muslims," said Abdul Sami Salmani, BSP's candidate from northeast constituency, which has a sizeable Muslim population.

The BSP has fielded another Muslim candidate, Shakeel Saifi, from east Delhi.

The BJP has however dismissed the issue as a matter of chance.

"In the municipal election, we had fielded Muslim candidates. It is just a matter of chance that we didn't field a Muslim face in for the Lok Sabha election," said Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan.

In the past too, the BJP and the Congress have not fielded a Muslim candidate. The AAP's entry had given Muslims a hope about their representation, but the party too has disappointed the community.

"We had given AAP data and asked it to give some tickets to Muslims but the party was not convinced," said Kaleemul Hafeez, a prominent Muslim leader who recently joined AAP.

AAP defended its decision. Its spokesperson Sanjay Singh said, "We select candidates on the basis of eligibility, not as per his religion and caste."