Bangalore, August 29: Muslim leaders in the Congress have demanded that candidates from the community should be fielded in at least 25 constituencies in the next Assembly elections.
The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), which is facing tough questions from Muslim leaders following the humiliating defeat of Iqbal Saradagi in the MLC elections, had organised a day-long meeting of the community leaders at Palace Grounds in Bangalore on Tuesday. Prominent leaders Jaffer Sharief, Rehman Khan, Roshan Baig, C M Ibrahim, N A Haris, Naseer Ahmed and B A Hasanabba were among 1,500 leaders who took part in the interactive sessions.
A majority of those who spoke, despite enjoying many positions in the past, had grievances to air against the party. For example, Sharief said that in the last Lok Sabha polls, four candidates belonging to the minority communities were fielded by the Congress in the State, all of whom lost.
Margaret Alva, who lost the poll, was appointed the governor, while H T Sangliana became vice president of the All India Minority Commission.
But the two Muslim candidates (Sharief and Saleem Ahmed) did not get any position.
Ahmed was made the director general of Nehru Yuva Kendra recently, because elections are fast approaching, Sharief said. They complained that the Muslims were considered only during elections.
Inaccessibility of senior leaders throughout the year and differences between Sharief and Ibrahim were a few among their other grouses. They also alleged that the party was not doing enough to retain its traditional vote bank, while the JD(S) had been increasing its popularity among the minorities.
KPCC president G Parameshwara said the Muslims faced a “crisis of confidence” and the party would soon chalk out pro-Muslim policies to boost their morale.
He promised that he would submit the demands placed during the session to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi.
He said that the ticket to contest one Assembly seat in every Lok Sabha constituency would be given to a candidate belonging to minorities, backward classes or Vokkaliga community. A committee would be constituted to update voters’ lists wherever names of voters from minority communities had been left out.
The leaders also demanded that Bengaluru International Airport be named after Tipu Sultan.