SP Legislator Raises Alarm Over No Muslim Member in Maharashtra Legislative Council

Mumbai: For the first time, the legislative council of Maharashtra will have no Muslim member after July 27. The only sitting Muslim MLCs, Wajahat Mirza of Congress and Abdullah Khan Durrani of NCP will complete their terms on July 27 and there is no Muslim candidate in the fray for the biennial election to 11 seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, which will be held on Friday. Samajwadi Party MLC Rais Shaikh has expressed concern over the situation and cautioned the Maha Vikas Aghadi that it will lose Muslim votes to the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM).

In a letter addressed to the leaders of MVA, which includes Congress, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and NCP (Sharad Pawar), the SP legislator said, “11 members of the Council are retiring on July 27. But none of the MVA constituents has fielded a Muslim candidate to fill the vacant posts. The MVA must rectify this mistake by giving adequate representation to the Muslim community in the Assembly polls.”

There are 12 candidates in the fray for the 11 legislative council vacancies. The MLCs were elected by the MLAs. Shiv Sena (UBT) filed the nomination of Milind Narvekar, a close aide of Uddhav Thackeray. Congress has fielded Pradnya Satav, while the NCP (SP) has supported Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) chief Jayant Patil.

The BJP has nominated Pankaja Munde, who recently lost the Lok Sabha election, Amit Gorkhe, Sadabhau Khot, Yogesh Tilekar and Parinay Phuke. Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena has fielded former MPs Bhawana Gawli and Krupal Tumane, who were denied Lok Sabha tickets. Ajit Pawar-led NCP has fielded his loyalists Shivajirao Garje and Rajesh Vitekar.

“By denying representation to Muslims, the MVA is pushing Muslim voters towards the AIMIM, which always polarises Muslim votes,” Mr. Shaikh said in the letter written to Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole and NCP (SP) state president Jayant Patil.

“The MVA did not give a single Muslim candidate in Lok Sabha even though there are 14 Lok Sabha seats with a significant Muslim population. Since its inception in 1960, Maharashtra has elected 567 MPs, out of which only 15 were Muslims. There are only 10 Muslim MLAs in the state,” the SP MLA said.

The MVA has been hesitant to field Muslim candidates as it fears consolidation of Hindu votes in BJP’s favour. A week ago, around 30 Muslim office bearers of the Mumbai Congress resigned in protest of no representation given to the community in the legislative council election. However, so far Congress has ignored the dissenting voices on the issue.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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