Bhopal: Cong & BJP Compete For Muslim Voter Support In 47 Constituencies

Bhopal: Cong & BJP Compete For Muslim Voter Support In 47 Constituencies

22 Muslim-dominated seats are likely to witness neck-and-neck contest

Staff ReporterUpdated: Monday, October 23, 2023, 12:29 AM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): In 47 constituencies, the substantial presence of Muslim voters can have a significant impact on the outcome of the upcoming election in these areas. Both the Congress and BJP are vying for their support, promising better governance if they are voted into power. While Congress asserts that the party has been batting for the rights of the minority community, the ruling BJP claims that its party has ensured the socio-economic growth of Muslims.  

As per the 2011 census Muslims constitute 7 per cent of the population of the state; which currently is likely to have reached around 9-10 per cent. The Muslims have significant presence in 47 constituencies where their number accounts between 5,000 and 15,00, while in 22 constituencies they are in majority and their number is anything between 15,000 and 35,000. These 22 Muslim-dominated seats are likely to witness neck-and-neck contests. These include three constituencies of Bhopal, two of Indore, Burhanpur, Jaora and Jabalpur among others. Nevertheless, the Muslim representation in the state Assembly has remained restricted to Bhopal North and Bhopal Central seats over the years. After a gap of almost two decades, the MP assembly saw two MLAs from the Muslim community- Arif Aqueel and Arif Masood (Both Congress) getting elected in the 2018 elections from Bhopal North and Bhopal Central constituencies, respectively. 

Earlier, In 2003, Hameed Qazi was elected from Burhanpur. In 1998, Sayeed Ahmed went to represent Satna constituencies in the Assembly. Ujjain, Jabalpur Central, Satna, and Burhanpur have also elected Muslims candidates to Assembly. Congress veteran and six-term MLA Arif Aqueel, 71, has been representing the Bhopal North seat since 1990 till date, except in 1993 when BJP’s Ramesh Sharma went on to represent the seat in the Assembly.

In the 1998 assembly polls, Aqueel was again elected MLA from Bhopal North and has been retaining the sear ever since. It is claimed that the Bhopal North is not a Muslim-dominated seat but Arif Aqueel enjoys support of non-Muslim voters, who are traditionally loyal to the ‘ Grand Old Party’. After winning the Bhopal Central segment post delimitation in 2008 and 2013, the BJP lost to Arif Masood of Congress who defeated sitting MLA Surendra Nath Singh in 2018. Pic s Pics: Atif Aqueel , Arif Masood Alok Sharma, Dhruv Narayan Singh, Mohammed Saud //Two Muslim candidates vying for Bhopal North.  

The Congress this time has given a ticket to Atif Aqueel, son of sitting MLA Arif Aqueel considering his ill-health. Atif has been pitted against former mayor Alok Sharma who lost to the senior Aqueel by around 4000 votes in 2008. The constituency is all set to see a triangular battle as APP has fielded Mohammed Saud from the seat. Congress has retained Arif Masood from Bhopal Central and he will face BJP’s Dhruv Narayan Singh, who was first elected from the constituency in 2008.

The AAP also declared two candidates from Bhopal city including Mohammed Saud (Bhopal North) and Raisa Begum Malik (Narela). APP has also fielded Raisa Begum Malik from Narela constituency of Bhopal district.

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