Lok Sabha Election

Umar Khalid’s father in fray

Umar Khalid. File   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Jawaharlal Nehru University’s student leader Umar Khalid may not be in the fray, but his father is contesting from a north Bengal seat. S.Q.R. Iliyas of Welfare Party of India is contesting from Murshidabad’s Jangipur seat, previously secured by former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son, Abhijit. He cited “worsening” condition of electors of Murshidabad, predominantly Muslims, as the reason for contesting from Jangipur.

“Seven to eight lakh people migrate to Kerala from this area and there is very little employment opportunity despite the fact that Jangipur produces good quality jute or mango. But those can’t be processed locally and they had to go to Kolkata. I’m highlighting such issues in my campaign,” Mr Iliyas said. WPI mainly voices the issues of the minority community and Dalits.

The seat– Jangipur– is one of critical ones in 2019. Left Front decided to leave it to Congress, but yet to wrap up the seat sharing deal.

If Left and the Congress contests separately, thus splitting the Muslim votes, which is about 70% of the constituency, and WPI can poll 50,000 votes, the seat will witness a very close quadrangular fight. Mr Iliyas however feels WPI will “not split” the Muslim vote to the extent when it may benefit the BJP.

“It will be either us or any one of the local Bengal parties,” he said. Trinamool Congress local leaders said that WPI’s vote will not be “major factor.”

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Printable version | Sep 14, 2021 8:20:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/umar-khalids-father-in-fray/article26547793.ece

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