No active Muslim and Christian workers in many wards: leader

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which announced 56 candidates for the election to the 60-member Mangalore City Corporation council to be held on March 7, has given least representation to candidates from minority communities, fielding only one candidate from the Muslim community.

The party, which fielded three candidates from Christian community in the 2007 election to the council, has not fielded any Christian candidate this time.

The BJP fielded only one Muslim candidate, Abdul Aziz from Katipalla North (ward no. 5), in the 2007 elections, this time also it has given the same representation to Muslims. The party has fielded a Muslim candidate Anwar Reeko from Kudroli ward (No. 43). Mr. Aziz had lost the election.

The three Christians fielded in the 2007 election were Clifford Lobo from Panambur Bengre (No. 11), Franklin Monterio from Derebail North (No. 17) and James D’Souza from Maroli (No. 37). Of them Mr. D’Souza won the election. He deserted the party a few days ago.

The party is yet to announce the candidates for four wards: Katipalla East (No. 3), Dereabil East (No. 23), Padil (No. 51) and Jeppu (No. 59), as Saturday is the last day for filing nominations.

A party leader told The Hindu that the party wanted to field a woman from the Christian community, from one of the four wards, but she refused to contest. Hence, no candidate from minority communities would contest from the four wards, he said.

K. Padmanabha Kottari, president of Dakshina Kannada unit of the BJP, told The Hindu that the party had chosen candidates based on the feedback from party workers in the wards.

The candidates were selected not on the basis of their community. The selection was made on the basis of the work done by the candidates for the party.

Mr. Monterio, vice-president of the minority cell of the State unit of the BJP, who had contested the last elections from Derebail North, said that the party did not issue tickets to minorities this time as there were no active workers from the communities in the party in many wards.

Mr. Lobo preferred not to contest for personal reasons though he (Mr. Monterio) was promised an important position in the party.

He said that there was no link between post-church attack developments (in 2008) in Mangalore and the BJP not fielding any Christian candidates for the civic polls.

Meanwhile, of the four former Mayors from the BJP, the party has refrained from fielding three former Mayors, M. Shankar Bhat, Rajani Dugganna and Praveen this year. It issued a ticket to the former Mayor Ganesh Hosabettu.

According to K. Monappa Bhandary, spokesperson of the district unit of the party, the three former Mayors had decided to not contest as they occupied the highest post in the civic body last time.

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