Shiv Sena & BJP fields maximum Hindu candidates in upcoming Maharastra Polls


The number of Muslim candidates in Maharashtra has gone up more than proportionately to the higher number of candidates after the split in the major alliances. The four parties in the two alliances and the MNS have together fielded 1,356 candidates, which is a little less than twice the 705 they totalled in 2009, while the number of the Muslim candidates these five have fielded has multiplied more than two-and-a-quarter times from 19 to 45. Muslims now represent 3.3 per cent of the fray, having represented 2.7 per cent last time.

The highest jump is from the MNS, which has increased the number of Muslim candidates from one to seven in 2014 while the tickets it has handed out have grown proportionately less in comparison, from 143 to 239. The NCP is next with 16 Muslims, four times as many as in 2009, when it contested 113 seats compared to the 286 now.

The Congress has raised its tickets for Muslims from 12 to 19 — the highest for any party — but it actually represents a lower proportion (6.6 per cent of 288) than in 2009 (7.1 per cent of 170).

The Shiv Sena has stuck to a single Muslim candidate though it is contesting 286 seats to last time’s 160. The BJP has two Muslim candidates after having fielded one in 2009, roughly in proportion to the growth in the number of seats it is contesting (from 119 to 257).

One of the BJP’s Muslim candidates is Pasha Patel, who will contest from Ausa in Beed district where the Muslim population is small. Patel, a former MLC and a grassroots activist on agrarian issues, was close to the late Gopinath Munde who hailed from Beed. The other candidate is from Malegaon Central, which is Muslim-dominated, and where the Sena too has fielded its lone Muslim candidate.

“It is difficult for Muslims to win from areas that don’t have a substantial population,” a senior Congress leader said. Counting independents and smaller parties’ candidates, the last two elections have had 265 and 395 Muslim candidates and while their vote share has dropped from 4.5 per cent in 2004 to 3.9 per cent in 2009.

Source: The Indian Express