The Congress has already announced Muslim candidates from four seats but the party’s minority cell feels this representation is inadequate. There are more than 30 constituencies (out of 182) where Muslims voters can have a decisive influence on the outcome of the polls, said members of the Congress minority cell.
Eventually, the Congress is expected to field Muslim candidates from seven seats though the party’s minority cell has demanded 11 seats for the community.
“Despite our demand, I don’t think the party will give us more representation,” said president, Minority Cell, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), Vajir Pathan.
The Congress has fielded Muslim candidates from Vagra, Surat East and Wankaner and has announced the name of Amir Ali Lodhia for the Bhuj seat which goes to polls in the second phase.
“Our demand for minority candidates from Jamnagar South, Petlad, Somnath and Sidhpur has been turned down. We have also demanded minority candidates from Jamalpur-Khadia, Dariapur and Vejalpur seats and are waiting for the release of the names of candidates for the second phase seats,” Pathan said.
When asked about the apparent neglect of the minority community by political parties, president, PUCL and former professor, MS University, JS Bandukwala said the parties’ decision reflects the communal polarization of Gujarati society.
Bandookwala said that political parties believe that fielding a Muslim candidate from a constituency is wasteful and is as good as giving the seat away to rival parties. He, however, blamed Gujarati society for this state of affairs.
“Our society is completely polarised along communal lines. Representation of minority communities can increase by change in society,” he said.