No Muslims in BJP’s first list in Rajasthan

No Muslims in BJP’s first list in Rajasthan

Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia with PM Naredra Modi in an election rally. (PTI file photo)

The BJP’s first list of 131 candidates for the Rajasthan Assembly elections does not feature any Muslim nominees.

In fact, one Muslim minister and another Muslim sitting MLA have been dropped in the first list.

The list, which was released late on Sunday night, came as a shocker to most in the party, as the dropped minister Yunus Khan, who handles the transport portfolio, is a close aide of the chief minister.

Khan is the sitting MLA from Didwana and is considered the ‘No.2’ in Vasundhara Raje’s Cabinet.

The other MLA who has been dropped is Habib ur Rehman from Nagore. Rahman, who joined the BJP in 2013, was earlier with the Congress and considered close to former chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

Responding to speculation on whether Khan will be dropped from the second list as well, a senior BJP leader told DH, “There are chances that Habib ur Rehman will exit the party and contest as an independent candidate or join the Congress. But with Yunus Khan, Raje wants him to contest from Fatehpur while the BJP leadership wants him to contest from Didwana. His name was held back due to a lack of consensus.”

The BJP’s candidate list for 2013 had four Muslim faces, out of which two won.

The BJP also dropped K L Meena, its sitting MLA from Manoharthana in Jhalawar. He was accused of attacking, including Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey. Chandrakanta Meghwal, the sitting MLA from Ramganjmandi was dropped as her run-in with the police had embarrassed the party.

The delay in releasing the first list was reportedly because of party chief Amit Shah and Raje not arriving at a consensus on the issue of axing a large number of sitting MLAs.

Political experts say the list shows a mix of candidates from both camps. “The first list is a mix of old and new candidates and has both the members and non-members of the RSS. However, it seems the BJP is trying to play the Hindu card by omitting the names of Muslim candidates in its first list,” political expert Om Saini told DH.

Rajasthan Health Minister and five-time MLA Kalicharan Saraf, Industries Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat and Labour and Employment Minister Jaswant Singh Yadav are among prominent leaders dropped from the first list.

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