Sikhs, Muslims don’t figure in BJP’s Chhattisgarh list

November 1st, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Nov 1 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not selected Sikh and Muslim candidates, nor any from the Sindhi community, for the polls to the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly, taking many within the party by surprise, a party official said Saturday. “Keeping away from Muslim candidates is quite understandable but it’s really stunning that the party ditched Sikhs and the Sindhi community who traditionally support BJP in the state,” a senior BJP leader told IANS Saturday.

Rajinderpal Singh Bhatia, a former minister in the BJP government and a sitting lawmaker, was hoping to figure in the candidates’ list from any seat in Rajnandgaon district to represent Sikhs. Raipur’s Srichand Sundrani, who is a BJP leader from the Sindhi community, was also hoping for the same.

But the state’s ruling party denied nomination to both of them, which may prove costly to the party in certain pockets.

The state that has a population of 20.08 million, of which 32 percent belong to the Scheduled Tribes (ST). They have 29 seats reserved for them while Scheduled Castes (SC), with 12 percent of the population, have 10 seats reserved for them.

The Other Backward Class (OBC) population, dominated by Sahu and Kurmi castes, is about 50 percent while remaining six percent belongs to upper castes, Sikhs and Muslims.

The BJP has fielded 10 women candidates, 32 ST candidates, 11 SC candidates, 26 from OBC while rest of the candidates are from the upper castes.

Out of 90 seats in Chhattisgarh, 39 will go to the polls Nov 14 while voting in the remaining 51 seats will take place Nov 20.

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