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Lack of Muslim Face may hurt Congress Party in UP

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Mumbai: Congress seems to be facing a piquant situation in the state. While the Grand old party has made senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad as the party incharge in this crucial state before assembly elections set to be held next year, the party is still facing a trust deficit among the Muslims of the state.

Muslims make around twenty percent of the state population and make the largest block of votes in the most populous state in the country. Their support will be crucial for the Congress party to make substantial gains in the state.

Senior Congress leader Meem Afzal says that it is a fact that Muslims are being attracted towards the party as the party’s graph improves in the state, the lack of a credible Muslim face seems to be a minus point. He says that some Muslims are of the opinion that the Congress doesn’t want to talk much about Muslims as it works its way towards attracting upper caste Muslims. Meem Afzal was addressing the media at government guest house in the state capital.

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Afzal, who has been made the media coordinator of the party in the state, said that there was chance that the grand old party may announce some sort of reservation for Muslims in the state. Nonetheless he went on to add that the Congress Party may not propose 18 percent reservation for the community as was done by the ruling Samajwadi Party before 2012 assembly elections in the state. He said if there is some talk of Muslim reservation in the state in Congress manifesto, it may be more on the pattern of Karnataka or Telangana where it is kept around four to five percent.

Afzal also said that Shiela Dixit has a clean image and her projection as the Congress chief ministerial candidate in the state may help the party in a big way. She ruled over the neighboring Delhi for 15 years and changed the face of the Indian capital.

The editor of an Urdu weekly, Afzal said that Muslims were looking forward to a Congress government in the state after getting disappointed by Samajwadi Party and the BSP of Mayawati.

While the Congress leader conceded that there was a fear of Muslim votes being divided between so many secular parties, he still believed that Muslims will judiciously use their vote. He added that Muslims will not be impressed by false promises of Samajwadi Party or the BSP this time. The media coordinator of the Congress also accepted that there were some issues with the press, but added that it will be sorted out pretty soon. (Translated from Inquilab)

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