Sait unlikely to contest ensuing polls fearing anti-incumbency

Sait unlikely to contest ensuing polls fearing anti-incumbency

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait, who is riding on a severe anti-incumbency wave, is trying to avoid a contest from his Narasimharaja Assembly constituency in the upcoming polls due to the fear of defeat.

However, he does not want the ticket of the Congress to be issued to a person from his own community, due to the fear of losing the constituency once for all. The father-son duo - the late minister Azeez Sait and Tanveer Sait - have held the constituency, which was earlier known as Mysore North, for 41 years, since 1967, with only two breaks. The breaks were in 1984 when Azeez Sait was elected to the Lok Sabha from Dharwad South and in 1994 when E Maruti Rao Pawar of the BJP won. As the senior Sait became the MP, the late Muktharunisa Begum was elected in the 1985 Assembly election. Hence, since the first election, held in 1952, others have represented the constituency only for 25 years, out of the total 66 years.

In the last Assembly election, in 2013, Tanveer Sait's election was not a cake-walk. Since the 2002 by-election, which was facilitated by the death of the senior Sait, Tanveer Sait has been continuously representing the constituency for the past 16 years. But the last victory was with a thin margin of 8,370 votes in a constituency with 2.11 lakh voters, which recorded a polling of 54.7% and a total of 1,15,764 valid votes. The surprise element in the last election was the emergence of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). SDPI candidate Abdul Majeed was the nearest rival with 29,667 votes.

In the last election, the other important candidates in the fray were Sandesh Swamy (Sathish) of the JD(S), who secured 29,180 votes and B P Manjunath of the BJP who managed to get 12,443 votes. Out of 16 candidates, nine were Muslims.

Muslim bastion

The constituency is deemed to be an undeclared Muslim constituency as leaders from the community have represented it for 12 terms, including a by-election. The other community MLAs were T Mariappa of the Congress, who won the first election in 1952, B K Puttaiah of Praja Socialist Party in 1962 and E Maruthi Rao Pawar of the BJP in 1994. Thus, Muslims leaders have represented the constituency for a total of 51 years in its history of 66 years.

Abdul Majeed of the SDPI said that in the last election, his candidature was announced in a short notice and hence, the votes polled in his favour were significant. "This time, my candidature was announced six months ago and our party members have reached almost all voters through six people's contact centres in 15 wards of the Mysuru City Corporation, where we had polled a considerable number of votes. In three of the wards, we have SDPI corporators," he said.

"Under our 'Walk to Ward' campaign, our members set out to the wards immediately after the morning Namaz, to lend an ear to the grievances of the people," he added.

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