RS:SP looks to benefit from MP Muslim votes by choosing Saleem

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Madhya Pradesh
Bhopal, Mar 23: The Samajwadi Party (SP) which humbled the Congress in recent Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls by cornering majority of the Muslim votes, has offered an olive branch to the minority community in Madhya Pradesh by nominating Choudhary Munawwar Saleem of Vidisha to the Rajya Sabha from the neighbouring state.

"Certainly, it was courageous of SP President Mulayam Singh Yadav, as by doing so he has made an effort to attract the Muslim community towards it in Madhya Pradesh," senior Congress leader and former Union Minister, Aslam Sher Khan told PTI.

"He could have easily accommodated any Muslim leader from Uttar Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha, but by taking this step (of nominating Saleem), the SP has made an effort to woo the minority community towards it," Khan, who is also a former hockey Olympian said.

When asked whether the decision of the Congress not to send any Muslim candidate to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh has annoyed the community here, Khan said the fundamental problem with the minority community here is that it has no leadership in the state. Secondly, Congress has to seriously think on an important issue that earlier nearly 70 per cent Muslims voted for the party but due to lack of any viable alternative.

Now, this percentage is declining to 40-45 per cent in the elections. The Congress has to give more representation to the community in the assembly elections, which normally votes enbloc for the party, to assuage its feelings and for ensuring that the BJP won't come to power for the third time in a row in Madhya Pradesh. However, the lone Muslim MLA from Congress in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, Arif Aqueel said the SP will hardly get any benefit by this move as it has no foundation in the state.

PTI

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