Parties looking for candidates from minority communities

Bangalore Central, one among the newly carved out Lok Sabha constituencies six years ago, has a cosmopolitan character with a fair spread of people from all religions and denominations. However, as political parties believe that a representative of the minority community will give them a distinct edge, finalising candidates is proving to be an uphill task for them.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s P.C. Mohan won the 2009 elections following a split in minority votes between the candidates of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).

While the Congress had fielded H.T. Sangliana, who was earlier with the BJP, the JD(S) candidate was B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan.

Pros and cons

Now, the Congress and JD(S) are weighing the pros and cons before announcing their candidates. Apart from Mr. Sangliana, the former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader C.K. Jaffer Sharief, State Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad, and the former Minister J. Alexander are vying for ticket from this constituency.

While the BJP is likely to renominate Mr. Mohan, the JD(S) has adopted a wait-and-watch policy. “Let the Congress and the BJP announce their candidates first. We have still not shortlisted names for this constituency,” JD(S) State president A. Krishnappa said. Party sources said the JD(S) was considering seat adjustments with like-minded parties. “Leaders from other parties, who have a strong winnability factor, are likely to join our party. We will shortlist the candidates after that,” the sources said.

The JD(S) was also considering the feasibility of fielding Nandini Alva, wife of the late Jeevaraj Alva, they added.

AAP plans

The Aam Aadmi Party is also said to be working on a formula that involves fielding a young candidate if the Congress fields Mr. Jaffer Sharief. “If the Congress fields a youngster, our chances of winning are not high. We have to work on this aspect,” a party source said.

Meanwhile, Muslim leaders in the Congress have reportedly backed the candidature of Mr. Jaffer Sharief, who lost to the BJP’s D.B. Chandre Gowda from the Bangalore North constituency in 2009.

The Muslim leaders, including a few Ministers, who reportedly held a meeting on February 11, are learnt to have decided to convince the high command to field Muslim candidates in at least Bangalore Central, Haveri and Bidar constituencies.

But with the All-India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi keen on infusing young blood into politics, Mr. Arshad, who retained his post as the president of the State Youth Congress recently, is confident that his chances are bright.

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