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Ensure one Muslim MP from Maharashtra to avoid division of secular votes: Azmi to Cong
Saturday April 5, 2014 8:21 PM, Fakir Balaji, Staff Reporter

In a surprising poll-time bargain, Samajwadi Party (SP) Maharashtra President Abu Asim Azmi asked the Congress party to ensure at least one Muslim from the state wins in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, and in return he would withdraw all SP candidates in the race.

Abu Asim Azmi

"If Congress is really concerned about the division of secular votes, it should ensure that at least one Muslim wins in the coming Lok Sabha election. In return, the Samajwadi Party (SP) will withdraw all its candidates", Azmi said in a statement released Saturday.

He said he had already demanded from the Congress party to field Amin Patel in Mumbai – South parliamentary seat and Arif Nasemm Khan or Baba Siddiqui in Mumbai – North Central.
"It was after Congress refused to accept our demand that we fielded Samajwadi Party candidates to contest on these two seats", he said.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded Farhan Azmi, Abu Asim Azmi's son from Mumbai – North Central. Sitting MP Priya Dutt is Congress nominee from this seat.

Maharashtra has a total 48 Lok Sabha seats, and the Congress has given party ticket to only one Muslim – Hidayat Patel. Patel has been fielded from Akola. The NCP and BJP have not fielded any Muslim whereas the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has given party tickets to six Muslims.

In 2009 elections, Abdur Rehman Antulay was the lone Muslim who was given the party ticket as against the demand from the Muslim community of at least five Muslims.

Antulay lost the election and the result was that the last Lok Sabha did not have a single Muslim MP from Maharashtra.

To compensate this loss, Congress gave a Rajya Sabha seat to Husain Dalwai.

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