Utpal Borpujari

April 29, 2009

Betul, now ST seat, is part of minority politics history in MP

By Utpal Borpujari in Betul

In most of the other major states of India, Muslims play a crucial role in almost every elections, but in Madhya Pradesh, this biggest minority community of the country remains much beyond the backburner.

Even in the ongoing General elections, MP remains the only big state where the most significant players, BJP and Congress, have given virtually nil representation to Muslims.

 

While BJP has not given ticket to a single Muslim candidate, Congress has been able to field only one candidate representing the community in the form of Aslam Sher Khan from Sagar.

 

Fringe players like Samajwadi Party and BSP have fielded some Muslim candidates, but they are unlikely to make much impact, going by the strength of these parties in the state which has around 6.5 per cent population representing the community.

 

In this context, Betul in southern Madhya Pradesh, which got reserved for STs in the delimitation of constituencies, holds a special place in the political history of MP. It holds the record for returning Muslim MPs on four successive elections.

 

The first Muslim MP to represent the seat was Congress’ Gufran-e-Azam who defeated his Janata Party rival Subhash Chandra Ahuja in 1980 by over 29,000 votes.

 

In 1984, former Hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan went on to become a Union minister after defeating Mahesh Buch of BJP by over 37,000 votes, while in 1989, Khan lost out to BJP’s Arif Baig by over 40,000 votes, only to see the results reversed in 1991, with Khan winning this time by over 22,000 votes.

Congress sources in MP say that internal bickering in the party this time made it select Khan to fight from Sagar, where BJP is making an issue out of his being an “outsider”, to make it sure that party MLA Arif Aqueel is not given a ticket from Bhopal which has a significant Muslim population.

Meanwhile, here in Betul, change of its status to an ST seat has led to a piquant situation for voters, with BJP fielding a candidate who is an ST by marriage, while Congress has found a candidate who not many in the constituency seem to be aware of.

“BJP’s Jyoti Dhurve actually comes from the business community, and is an ST only through marriage, while Congress’ Oja Ram Ivne seems to be proxy face for Rajendra Jaiswal, who had lost the last polls to Vijay Khandelwal of BJP,” says local businessman Uday Bhan Singh.

If one goes by the visibility factor, Dhurve seems to be at an advantage in the constituency as all across it BJP’s banners and flags are highly visible, but Congress workers aver that they are working at the grassroots.

“This time, the whole thing is about booth-level management as people are not coming out to attend campaign meetings because of the heat, and we are working with that thing in mind,” says a local Congress leader.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 23-04-2009)

http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Apr232009/national20090422131821.asp

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Original post by utpalb21 […]

    Pingback by Betul, now ST seat, is part of minority politics history in MP — April 29, 2009 @ 3:00 pm | Reply


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