Muslim cleric seeks ‘fair share’ of Maharashtra’s Lok Sabha seats


Mumbai : Upset over an ‘unfair share’ of seats for the community in Maharashtra in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Muslim leaders Saturday called for supporting only “deserving Muslim candidates” irrespective of their party affiliations.

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Addressing media persons here Saturday evening, All India Ulema Association president Maulana Syed Athar Ali claimed Muslims constitute a significant 18 percent of the total electorate in Maharashtra, while Dalits and other backward castes (OBCs) constitute 68 percent.

Going by the statistics, he said that Muslims would be satisfied only with at least five percent of the total candidates from each of the mainline political parties.

“In contrast, so far, only four Muslim candidates are in the fray – the reluctant Congress cabinet minister A.R. Antulay (Raigad), Samajwadi Party state president Abu Asim Azmi (Mumbai North-West) and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mohammed Ali Shaikh (Mumbai South) and Athar Siddiqui (Mumbai North-West),” said Lok Janashakti Party (LJP)’s state unit chief Shamim A. Hava.

He alleged that the two BSP candidates are of no consequence to the community since “they have entered into a business deal” to secure the nominations, effectively leaving only Antulay and Azmi in the field.

Maulana Athar urged the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to forge an alliance in the state with like-minded secular parties like the Samajwadi Party (SP), the LJP, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the BSP to ensure defeat of the communal forces.

Hava added that in case the Congress-NCP fail to enter into an alliance with the SP, RJD, LJP, BSP in the state, this group would put up candidates in the state’s all 48 Lok Sabha constituencies.

“We may not win all the seats, but we can definitely ensure defeat for those who do not take care of the Muslims, Dalits and other backward sections,” he said.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the All India Milli Council, Muslim intellectuals and scholars.