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Congress hopes to win over the community


Bengaluru, Will AHINDA, a social engineering trump card of minority, backward and Dalits, which the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah knitted together aiming for electoral gains in the state succeed, especially with the Muslim community? According to political observers, the ruling Congress party is enjoying a handful of support from the Muslim community, citing recent attacks on the minorities across the country under the Narendra Modi-led Union government. Karnataka has a Muslim population of 12-16 percent, which usually considered a majority are the supporters of the Congress party in the previous years. “Muslim community have supported the Congress party in the previous years. The community feels a sense of safety especially when Mr Siddaramaiah is in power. He proved his mettle when the BJP, supported by their other groups, had opposed Tipu Sultan Jayanti last year”, said 65-year old Ahmed Parvez in city’s Madiwala area. However, some are apprehensive about Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM’s entry in state politics and their support for the JD(S)-BSP combine, as this might harm Congress plans. Also in the fray in large scale is the newly floated All India Mahila Empowerment Party that can too grab to some extent the votes of the community. “AIMIM’s support to the JD(S) is not good news for the Congress. The AIMIM has a considerable influence among the minorities in the state”, said Iqbal C, a local journalist. “Most other Muslim parties, though not a big support base have announced to back the Congress like the Muslim League in Kerala”, he added. Some earlier reports state the Muslim community leaders demanded 26 seats from the Congress. Last time, they had contested in 19 seats, winning 9. A section of leaders led by senior Congress leader A Rahman Khan also put pressure on Congress high-command to give 26 seats, in which the Muslim community can win. In the first list for 218 seats, however, Congress gvve 15 seats to the Muslim community. In a recent interview, the KPCC president G Parameshwara rejected the claims of Muslim bodies and said the party has analysed the situation that where Muslim candidates can win, seats has given. “They themselves say tickets should not be given for namesake”, he added. SDPI, the political wing of Popular Front of India, and considered to have a strong base in coastal Karnataka, has decided to contest which could be a setback for the Congress. “Right now we have decided to field candidates in seven constituencies- Manglore North, Bandwal, Mysore, Chickpet, Sarvagna Nagar, Hebbar and Gulbarga North. That does not mean we will vote for Muslim candidates only. We will support the candidates from the Congress or JD(S) whoever can defeat the BJP”, said Ashraf AK, the party’s Mangaluru district council member. Adding to the Congress worry, is the declaration by the Mahila Empowerment Party, founded by Heera group owner Nowhera Shaik, to contest polls in 224 seats. On Wednesday, the group declared their second list of candidates. As per political observers, the Mahila Empowerment Party is able to eat into a section of Muslim votes, which traditionally goes to the Congress kitty. However, Jinu Sam, a social worker in the city pointed out that the Congress may fetch most of the votes from Muslim community. “Even if there is a trend that the Muslim votes may go other parties like JD(S), the Congress may change its strategy in coming days and it may add more programmes to woo the Muslim community”. According to a leader from Muslim community, who has considerable clout to influence the voters said that more than 65 percent of votes from the community will go to the Congress only. “Muslim community is very much aware about the political situation in the country. They will not vote for JD(S) this time as they know the Deve Gowda-led party may go with the BJP after polls. So, this time the Congress will be the biggest beneficiary of Muslim voters”, he added. According to some studies, the Muslim population in Karnataka can influence the outcome in at least 90-120 seats, which could be crucial for the Congress.

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