Denied ticket, Christian leaders upset with Congress

The Congress’ decision not to field any Christian in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the State appears to have caused resentment among leaders of the community, considered the party’s traditional vote bank.

The Congress’ Christian face, J Alexander, joined former Member of Parliament H T Sangliana in expressing unhappiness about the party’s decision. “Like Sangliana, I also feel strongly about it (the party denying ticket to Christians). What the party has done is not correct. I have been getting calls from my friends on the issue. It will impact the Congress’ prospects not only in Bangalore Central but in other constituencies, too,” Alexander told Deccan Herald.

Alexander and Sangliana aspired to be the Congress candidate for Bangalore Central. Sangliana even went on to accuse the Congress of doing “injustice” to the community. He also threatened to quit the Congress and contest as a JD(S) candidate from that constituency. But Alexander asserted he had no plans to quit the Congress.

Many Muslim leaders are also upset with the Congress party for denying ticket to Jaffer Sharief in Bangalore Central. Sharief has rebelled against the party and is now considering joining the JD(S), which is ready to field him in Mysore-Kodagu.
Christian leaders in the Congress had hoped the party would give ticket to a community leader in Bangalore Central or Uttara Kannada, where Nivedit Alva, son of Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva, was an aspirant. But the party decided to field Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande’s son, Prashant, there.

The leaders feel the Congress could have fielded Alva or any other Christian leader in Uttara Kannada where the community’s population is sizeable. It is not just about winning an election; sending out a message to the community across the State is more important, they stressed.

Alexander insisted that the community would not have protested had the party fielded Sharief, a senior leader who represents all the minorities. But he added that he had nothing against State Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad who is the party’s candidate for Bangalore Central.

But Home Minister K J George denied that the Congress had done any injustice to Christians. “The Congress is the only party which has stood by all the minorities. Just because no Christian candidate has been given ticket does not mean the party is against the community,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alva said in a statement to the media that he would continue to work for the Congress and the development of Uttara Kannada.

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