Masood's absence may change Cong equations

Masood's absence may change Cong equations

The “poll arithmetic” for the Congress and its alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in west Uttar Pradesh districts may go awry owing to the absence of the senior Congress leader Rasheed Masood, who had been sentenced to four year imprisonment in the allotment of medical seats case.

The judgement could not have come at a worse time for the Congress, which was looking for a foot hold in the western districts, especially in the areas where the muslims were in sizable numbers, after the recent communal clashes.

Masood, who had crossed over to Congress for 2012 Assembly Polls in the state is said to have considerable influence over the muslim community in Saharanpur and some other adjoining districts.

“Masood enjoys a good image among the muslims .He could have brought the Muslim community, which is sore with the Samajwadi party over its handling of the riots, closer to the Congress,” said a senior UP congress leader while speaking to Deccan Herald here on Wednesday.

The kind of importance the party gave to Masood could be gauged from the fact that he was given a Rajya Sabha berth even though the Congress did not fare well in the region last year. Congress leaders said that the party’s strategy was to weave a “Jat-Muslim” combination by aligning  with the RLD and Masood.

“The Jat-Muslim relations were never so strained as they are after the communal violence,” the leaders pointed out. They said that though the muslims might still support the party to prevent a victory for Narendra Modi, their support alone would not be enough for the party candidates to sail through.

Congress, at present, does not have a muslim face like Masood, who could take the t lead and mobilise Muslim support in the region.

Hopeful for release

The state Congress leaders are however hopeful about Masood's release from jail in the near future.

“Masood may lose his membership but he may get bail in the higher court and come out of the prison,” they remarked.

Incidentally, the state Congress leaders are also hoping that the muslims in Saharanpur and other parts of the western region of the state may well “sympathize” with Masood.
“Masood's political career had been without any blemish until his conviction by the lower court'', they said.  

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