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BANGALORE, MARCH 27: With barely a few days left for filing nominations for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state, political observers are keenly watching how many Muslim candidates would be fielded, by the two principal “secular parties in the state” - Congress and JD(S). It is already clear now that the other major political party - BJP, which is trying to capture power at the Centre on its avowed Hindutva plank is unlikely to field any Muslim candidate in the state.

According to indications available, while the Congress is toying with the idea of fielding three Muslim candidates out of the total 28 seats in the state, the JD(S) is contemplating on fielding two Muslim candidates. The likely Congress candidates are - former Union Minister C K Jaffer Sharief from either Bangalore Central or Bangalore North, former MLC Saleem Ahmed or former Lok Sabha member Prof I G Sanadi from Haveri seat and former MP Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi from Bidar.

Of these, the chances of Sharief getting the Congress ticket for the Bangalore Central constituency appear bleak as the high command is learnt to have decided to field former police officer H T Sangliana from there. In that case, the Congress may field Sharief from Bangalore North. Moreover, political circles are agog with rumours of Sharief joining the JD(S) to contest from Bangalore Central, in case the Congress denies him ticket from the seat. The chances of Saradgi, who won from the Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat in 1999 and 2004 elections, getting the ticket for Bidar would hinge on whether another aspirant N Dharam Singh gets the ticket or not.

JD(S) is toying with the idea of fielding Chamarajpet MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan, from the Bangalore Central constituency in case Sharief fails to contest from there, either on a Congress or JD(S) ticket. JD(S) is also said to have already decided to field its state working president Iqbal Ansari from Koppal Lok Sabha seat.

Is is worth recalling that Karnataka has a long history of electing two or three Muslim candidates to the Lok Sabha, out of the total 28 seats since 1957.

Traditionally, it is the erstwhile Bangalore North (following delimitation it is now known as Bangalore Central) and the Dharwad South (now Haveri Lok Sabha seat) which have elected Muslim candidates to the Lok Sabha.

Source: New Indian Express

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