Bangalore: The Karnataka Muslim Political Forum (KMPF), a Muslim representative organisation of the state’s Muslim community, urged the ruling Congress party to nominate Muslim candidates for the parliamentary seats of Bidar, Haveli, Hubli Dharwad, Mangalore, and Bangalore Central in the 2024 parliamentary elections.
The Forum hosted three sessions in Basavakalyan, the Aland taluka of the Bidar Constituency, and organized a district-level gathering in Kalaburagi (Gulbarga), where the subject of the underrepresentation of Muslims in local government organization’s, assemblies, and parliament was discussed.
The Forum noted that since 90 percent of Muslims voted for Congress in the May assembly elections to bring it to power in the state, it is only fair for Congress to return the favor by allocating tickets based on the population of the community.
The Forum claimed that it has a presence in more than 22 districts of Karnataka, and it has time and again raised the issue of lack of Muslim representation in local bodies, assemblies, and parliament.
Additionally, it was made clear that it was independent of all political organizations and that it intended to send at least two Muslim MPs from Karnataka. If other community leaders and Congress work seriously to elect a Muslim candidate, then Bidar is most likely to send a Muslim MP after 15 years. In the 2019 election, its demand was sidelined by the alliance of Congress and JDS, which gave only one seat in Bangalore Central to a Muslim candidate while neglecting Bidar, which has a large Muslim population. Since Gulbarga became a reserved area, no Muslim MPs have been elected from Karnataka; therefore, an alternate option would be Bidar, which was denied to the community.
In order to demand five Muslim candidates from the Congress that has received 90% of the community’s votes, the Forum plans to undertake a campaign throughout the Bidar Constituency and has announced a state level convention to be held in Gulbarga and Bangalore.
Ghulam Rabbani, a renowned educationist who attended the meeting, questioned the Muslim MLAs and MLCs’ unwillingness to put pressure on their party to avoid disappointing the community by overlooking us when choosing candidates for boards, corporations, and the Member of Parliament position. This could cause the Muslim community to lose interest in the upcoming general election and result in fewer seats for the Congress Party.
Instead of attempting to ignore a sincere desire from the Muslim community, the Congress Party, its MLAs, and leaders from other communities in the parliamentary constituency should offer their entire support to those Muslim candidates who are given the chance in these elections. He added that Muslim leaders are being excluded from boards and corporations, as well as from the most recent selection of MLCs.
Afzaal Mahmood, the secretary of the forum, stated that since five years ago, our forum has brought up the concern with leaders of secular parties that no Muslim has been given the opportunity to run for office in a parliamentary election, raising doubts about the viability of a Muslim candidate. In all elections, whether they be for the TP, ZP, Assembly, or Parliament, our community votes secularly for any candidate chosen by Congress. However, when community participation is required, it is often ignored. He claimed that when Gulbarga was designated as a SC reserve during delimitation, Bidar should have been handed to the Muslim community by Congress, but instead, Eshwar Khandre, the Working President of the KPCC, and former CM Dharam Singh both received tickets.
After Gulbarga, the Muslim community in the Hyderabad, Karnataka, region views Bidar as a viable alternative, which will be evident in the days to come. Karnataka Muslim Political Forum conventions are held at the local and state levels.
Adv. Abdul Jabbar Gola also voiced his dissatisfaction with Muslims being represented in Haveri until 1998. In the previous election, only one Muslim candidate was given the chance, and based on social justice, the Congress Party should give a Muslim candidate from Bidar, Haveri, Bangalore Central, Hubli Dharwad, and Mangalore.
The Muslim community is wholeheartedly with Congress, and the assembly election result shows that OBC communities too are in favour of Congress this time, so it will make things easier for the party to give opportunity to Muslims rather than questioning their winnability, he added.
According to author Yusuf Baig, someone should be held accountable if a community of one crore people is unable to send one member among them. In order to have adequate representation in all categories of elected bodies, KMPF is attempting to win over the community and secular parties. According to him, political empowerment is the key to improving our community, and having a voice in parliament is a requirement that hasn’t been met for the past 15 years.
Feroz Khan, a KMPF member, and Modin Patel, Naya Savera Sanghatan, highlighted the importance of the Zilla Parishad (ZP) and Taluka Panchayat elections. Feroz Khan said that out of 55 ZP members in Gulbarga Dist, not a single Muslim ZP member is there and is not given tickets by the Congress Party.
The gathering was presided over by Forum State President, Adv. Azeemuddin. In the meeting Saqi Sarmast, Mubeen Riyaz, Siraj Shabdi, Aleem Ahmed, the convener, Haroon Kharadi, Khaleel Ansari Sahab, Yunus Pyare Sahab, Zaheer Ansari Sahab, Firasat Ansari Sahab, Mehboob Khan Sahab, Rawoor, and others were present.
A letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India and formally signed by all attendees of the meeting was sent, pleading with him to take action against the hate crimes occurring in Haryana due to the violence in Nuh. The KMPF passed a resolution calling on the opposition alliance INDIA to bring up the subject of the violence targeting the Muslim minority in Haryana.