National

More Than 850 Muslim Candidates Fielded By BJP For West Bengal Panchayat Polls

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
8392
| May 6 , 2018 , 14:36 IST

In a contrast from its 'saffron' image, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded more than 850 Muslim candidates for the upcoming panchayat polls in West Bengal, an increase from the less than 100 Muslim candidates fielded by the party in the previous WB panchayat elections in 2013.

West Bengal state BJP president Dilip Ghosh was quoted by PTI on Sunday as saying that the BJP would have fielded more than 2,000 minority candidates had the nomination process been peaceful.

“Our party has expanded its base in Bengal by leaps and bounds and Muslims too think that BJP believes in development of all. We are running the government at the Centre and in more than 20 states, Muslims are living in peace and there are no problems,” said Ghosh.

“We will not give tickets because of religion or caste but only on the criteria of ‘winnability’,” he said.

ALSO READ: Calcutta HC Stays WB Panchayat Poll Process Till April 16, Fines BJP Rs 5 Lakh For Misrepresentation

Bengal BJP Minority Morcha president Ali Hossain added that the since the Muslim population in West Bengal is around 30 percent, they need to reach out to the minorities.

“It is obvious that in a state like West Bengal where the Muslim population is near about 30 per cent, we have to reach out to the minorities. The minority community too has realized that BJP is no longer their enemy as projected by TMC and other parties,” said Hossain.

The Bengal BJP Minority Morcha president Hossin said that the Muslim candidates have been fielded mostly in areas where the Muslim population is high, such as in Murshidabad, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Birbhum and South 24 Parganas.

However, the ruling TMC discounted the BJP's minority outreach programme.

“The minorities have full faith in us. The BJP is giving nominations to minorities and are fuelling riots in the state,” senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee said.

According to party sources, former TMC Mukul Roy who joined the BJP played an important role in the selection of the BJP candidates and ensured that the party has a high number of Muslim candidates.

The West Bengal panchayat polls are set to take place on May 14.