By Hena Farhat
MUMBAI, Feb 25 — The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is set to field at least six Muslim candidates including two women candidates in Maharashtra for the upcoming general elections. Names of three of them are likely to be declared when the party releases its second list either today or tomorrow, a party insider said while talking to ummid.com.
The party insider said that the seats where the AAP is considering to field Muslim candidates include Mumbai (Central), Bhiwandi, Dhule-Malegaon and Akola. The other two are in Konkan and Marathwada regions.
“The AAP is not giving party tickets on the basis of caste or religion. We believe in giving adequate representation to everyone whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian or from any other religion. The tickets are solely given on ability and merit of the candidates”, the insider said.
It is also learnt that the AAP has almost zeroed on Ansari Jalaluddin – a Civil Engineer, to contest the election from Bhiwandi.
Meanwhile, the party screening committee has conducted the interviews of few aspirants from Dhule-Malegaon and Akola constituencies on Saturday.
Though a final decision on Akola might take few days more, it is learnt that the AAP is set to decide in next two days a surprise candidate to be fielded from Dhule-Malegaon – the constituency which has a good number of Muslim voters.
It is learnt that the candidate being considered as the possible AAP candidate from Dhule-Malegaon constituency has recently joined the party, has a clean image with a very strong family background, has a proven track record in the social field, and is capable of giving Congress and BJP – two main contesting parties, a tough fight.
The AAP move to field six Muslim candidates is bound to panic the Congress which despite promises and assurances made again and again has failed in giving adequate representation to the Muslims.
AAP plans to make a big entry in Maharashtra by contesting a majority of the 48 Lok Sabha seats, including targeting stalwarts like Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde, Nationalist Congress Party’s Praful Patel and Congress’ Suhilkumar Shinde, among others.
In the 2009 elections, for the first time in many years, not a single Muslim leader from any political party was elected to the Lok Sabha from the state, which has a huge Muslim population – around 15 million as per the 2011 Census.
Subsequently, the Congress sought to make amends by nominating Hussain Dalwai to the Rajya Sabha – the sole representative of the community in parliament.
The Aam Aadmi Party is likely to release its second list of candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections either today or tomorrow. Rabbi Shergil, Adarsh Shashtri, Rajmohan Gandhi, Sandeep Choudhury’s names are likely to figure in the second list. The party had released its first list of candidates earlier this month.
Of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, the party released the names of probable candidates for six seats in the first list. It is yet to declare any name from North-west Delhi constituency.
Banker Meera Sanyal and activist Mayank Gandhi figured in the list for Maharashtra, while no senior leader’s name featured from Delhi and Haryana.
Of the 48 parliamentary seats in Maharashtra, the party has released the names of probable candidates from Mumbai, Nagpur, Thane, Pune and Nashik.–ummid.com