"Congress Wants Muslim Votes, Not Candidates?" Internal Rift Out In Public

Maharashtra Congress leader Muhammed Arif 'Naseem' Khan has stepped down from the party's campaign committee, expressing displeasure over the party not nominating any Muslim leader in the state.

Apr 27, 2024 - 13:00
"Congress Wants Muslim Votes, Not Candidates?" Internal Rift Out In Public

Maharashtra Congress leader Muhammed Arif 'Naseem' Khan has stepped down from the party's campaign committee, expressing displeasure over the party not nominating any Muslim leader in the state. He wrote a letter to party chief Mallikarjun Kharge stating that he won't campaign for the Lok Sabha elections as the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) bloc had not fielded a Muslim candidate.

"From total 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, MVA has not nominated a single Muslim candidate in Maharashtra," the former state minister wrote.

Many Muslim organisations, leaders and also party workers from all over Maharashtra were expecting the Congress to nominate at least one candidate from the minority community, but unfortunately this has not happened, he noted.

The 60-year-old politician said that all these party leaders and workers are now asking him, "Congress ko Muslim vote chahiye, candidate kyun nahi (Congress wants Muslim votes, but why not candidates."

"Due to all this reasons, I will not be able to face and I have no answers to Muslims (sic)," Mr Khan wrote in the letter.

Mr Khan also said he is also resigning from the Maharashtra Congress Campaign Committee.

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The Congress is contesting 17 out the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in alliance with the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar). They are constituents of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Muhammed Arif Khan was in race for a ticket from Mumbai North Central, but the party chose city unit president Varsha Gaikwad for the constituency. He had contested the 2019 assembly elections from Chandivali in Mumbai, where he lost by 409 votes.

Speaking separately to PTI, Mr Khan said the Congress it seems has deviated from its long-held ideology of inclusivity.

The senior Congress leader said he was inundated with calls from organisations representing minorities and party workers from these social groups, asking why the Congress has ignored them while allotting tickets for elections in Maharashtra.

"I am unable to face questions of why injustice has been done (to minority groups). The party has deviated from its inclusive ideology and giving representation to all communities," said a miffed Mr Khan.

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