Cong pleases Rajasthan Muslim voters

  • IANS, AFP, Jaipur
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 20, 2004 19:46 IST

The move to appoint Abrar Ahmed as acting president of the Rajasthan Congress is being seen here as an effort to please the crucial Muslim vote bank ahead of elections in the state on May 5.

The Rajya Sabha MP has been appointed interim president of the state unit till the general election,the first time that a Muslim has been appointed to the post.

The present state Congress chief, Narain Singh, is a Jat and appointing Ahmed as working president would please both the communities.

Muslims constitute roughly 11 percent of the 37 million voters in the state. They are a dominating force in constituencies like Churu (12.13 percent), Bharatpur (13.28 percent), Ajmer (12.50 percent), Jaipur (11.94 percent) and Jhunjhunu (11.06 percent).

There have been reports of unrest in the community, particularly in the Shekhawati region, because of the importance being given to Jats. Ahmed's appointment may cool things down and improve the party's prospects in these constituencies.

However, the Congress says that the change has been made only because Narain Singh,who is contesting from Sikar was busy with his own election and did not have time to campaign for the party.

As the election scene heats up, there are also reports that former state minister Tayaib Hussain has resigned from the party. The leader of the Meo community was demanding a ticket for contesting from Faridabad in Haryana but reportedly resigned after the central leadership did not give him the ticket.

The state Congress has, however, refused to confirm reports of Hussain's resignation.


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