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Lot of anger among Muslims: Maharashtra Congress leader Muhammed Arif Khan steps away from campaigning after no Muslim gets ticket from I.N.D.I. Alliance in state

"From a total of 48 seats in Maharashtra, MVA has not nominated a single Muslim candidate in Maharashtra," Khan stated in his letter to Congress President Kharge.

Senior state Congress leader Muhammed Arif ‘Naseem’ Khan stepped down from the party’s campaign committee, amid the Lok Sabha elections, citing the decision by the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) bloc not to field any minority candidate in the polls.

He said the people and organisations associated with the minority community were upset over the bloc’s decision not to put a Muslim face or leader on the ticket.

Speaking to ANI, Khan said the Congress’ ideology since inception has been to take everyone along, regardless of community or caste.
“There is a lot of anger among people belonging to the minority community or associated with organisations linked with us. as there is not one Muslim (Opposition) candidate across the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state. I am upset, too, as the Congress, going back to its founding days, has been known to take everyone along, regardless of whether they are Muslims, OBCs, Marathas, SCs or STs,” the Congress leader told ANI.

He added that the people of minority communities expect their voices to be represented in the Lok Sabha, and are upset that the choice of candidates by the Opposition alliance doesn’t reflect a wider representation of communities.

“There has been a tradition (in the Congress) of giving representatives from every community a chance to represent them in the Lok Sabha and other legislative bodies. Maharashtra has always remained a progressive state. Abdul Rahman Antulay served as a long-time MP from Maharashtra. People from minority communities expect their voices to be carried forward and heard in the Lok Sabha. They are understandably upset this time, as the Opposition’s choice of candidates does not reflect a wider representation of society,” Khan said.

“Why is there no candidate from the minority community this time? If I go to the people to canvas for votes, they will ask me questions that I don’t have answers to. Hence, I have decided not to campaign for the third, fourth and fifth phases of elections,” the Congress leader added.

Earlier, in the letter addressed to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Khan thanked him for naming him as one of the star campaigners for the polls but said he wouldn’t campaign any further for the party in the Lok Sabha elections.

The MVA, which was previously the ruling combine in Maharashtra, comprises the Congress, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar).

“From a total of 48 seats in Maharashtra, MVA has not nominated a single Muslim candidate in Maharashtra,” Khan stated in his letter to Kharge.

The senior leader added that many Muslim organisations, leaders, and party workers in the state had hopes that the Congress would field at least one candidate, but ‘unfortunately’, it did not.

“Now they are asking…Congress ko Muslim vote chahiye…candidate kyu nahi (Congress wants Muslim votes, but why not candidates)?” Khan stated.

Stating that he was ‘upset’ with the party’s ‘unfair decision’, the Congress leader said he discharged his electoral responsibilities sincerely in several states–Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Telangana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra and others–whenever the party asked him to.

“Due to all these reasons, I will not be able to face and I have no answers to the Muslims and other Muslim organisations in Maharashtra who always raise this issue…Therefore, I have decided not to campaign for the party during the Lok Sabha elections 2024 and also resign from the campaign committee of the Maharashtra Lok Sabha election 2024,” Khan stated further in his letter to the Congress president.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Muslim Voter Council of India also wrote to Kharge, Nationalist Congress Party-Sharad Chandra Pawar (NCP-SCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) supremo Uddhav Thackeray, expressing their ‘disappointment’ over the decision not to field Muslim candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

The MVA recently announced its seat-sharing arrangement for 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, which sends the second-highest number of members to the Lower House after Uttar Pradesh.

As part of the seat-sharing deal reached between the MVA partners, Shiv Sena (UBT) is contesting 21 seats, while the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (SP) have put up candidates in 17 and 10 seats, respectively.

Polling in Maharashtra is being held in five phases–from April 19 to May 20. The counting of votes is scheduled for June 4.

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

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