Sena fields Muslim candidate
His name was not even in the voters’ list until 15 days ago, if sources are to be believed, and now he is contesting the polls, reports Rajendra Aklekar.mumbai Updated: Sep 26, 2009 01:30 IST
His name was not even in the voters’ list until 15 days ago, if sources are to be believed, and now he is contesting the polls.
Thirty-seven-year-old professor Shahid Reza Baig, will contest from the Muslim-dominated Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar seat on a Shiv Sena ticket.
A political novice, Baig is related to sitting Sena Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Mahim, Suresh Gambhir.
“I do not have any political experience, but I know the people’s problems here,” said Baig, who runs Mhatre-Baig coaching classes.
Uddhav Thackeray favoured Baig over local leader and sitting MLA from Trombay Rahul Shewale. Shewale had lost to Yusuf Abhrani of the Congress in 2004 by a margin of 43,728 votes.
This time, the Sena wants to rope in some Muslim votes.
Baig, an Anushakti Nagar resident, does not think the Sena always targets Muslims.
“I have seen cases where the party has done work for the Muslim community,” he said.
“I think the Sena is the only party that does not talk, but works silently for the benefit of Muslims.”
The newly constituted Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar seat has significant Muslim and Dalit population.
Sources said a lot of thinking went into deciding the right candidate for the constituency.
Local student leader Shabir Shaikh was also in the race, but Baig’s family connections did the trick for him.