BJP’s first: Tickets for turncoat Muslims in Jatland

BJP’s first: Tickets for turncoat Muslims in Jatland

BJP logo (DH File Image)

In a clear shift in strategy, the BJP in Haryana has fielded two Muslim candidates in the Assembly elections, in addition to increasing the number of tickets to Sikh candidates.

Four out of the five seats for which the BJP has reposed faith in Muslim and Sikh candidates have never been won by the BJP. By fielding Muslim and Sikh candidates, the BJP aims at winning over minorities in Haryana, besides attempting to breach seats long dominated either by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) or the Congress.

Interestingly, the saffron party could not find any suitable candidate for two Muslim-dominated seats and both the Muslim candidates fielded by the saffron party - Zakir Hussain from Nuh and Naseem Ahmed from Ferozpur Jhirka - are turncoats.

They were sitting MLAs of Chautala-led INLD and switched over to the BJP recently, an act for which the party rewarded them with poll nominations.

The decision to abandon the INLD wasn't hard for the two MLAs, given the perception of the INLD as a ‘sinking ship’ following a split in the party over a family feud.

For the BJP, winning these two Muslim-dominated seats in Haryana will secure inroads into regions where its presence was non-existential. Similarly, the BJP has given three seats to Sikh candidates, including former Indian hickey Captain Sandeep Singh from Peohwa. The other seat has been also gone to a turncoat, Balkaur Singh the sitting MLA of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) who joined the BJP recently.

These two seats too have not been BJP’s stronghold.

The saffron party's  stated aim of winning 75 seats out of 90 in the Assembly may be a tall order, especially considering that it was not considered a force to reckon with until as recently as the 2014 Assembly elections.

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