Shivraj Singh has good connect with Muslims, Pragya’s candidature has affected it

BHOPAL: Fatima Rasool Siddique, the lone Muslim candidate of BJP in the last year’s Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, said that the decision of the saffron party of fielding Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur in the Lok Sabha polls has affected former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh’s image among the minority community, who has good connect with the Muslim community.

Fatima, a dentistry student says she had joined the party on the call of Shivraj Singh. She felt comfortable in the party in spite of elements with communal bent of mind.

“She (Thakur) should not campaign in Muslim-dominated areas. I don’t think she can win. It (her candidature) will affect other areas and lead to polarisation,’’ she told The Sunday Express.

Fatima Rasool had earlier politely declined to canvass for her saying it would be difficult to address the audience in Sadhvi’s favour.

Expressing discontentment over the controversial statements delivered by Thakur, Siddique said: “Shivraj Singh Chouhan has a good reputation among Muslims. He is known for his strong views on Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb but her views might damage that too,” she added.

“Nowadays, people have become wiser, they are not in favour of dividing Hindu and Muslims. A lot of Muslims are associated with the BJP, they have also been hurt. No one has raised voice against Thakur but I have raised my voice. The party will suffer and this will harm all of us. I have given my message and filed a complaint against it with the party,” she added.

Last year in November, Fatima had joined the BJP and later she was nominated as the party’s candidate from the Bhopal North assembly constituency. She was the lone Muslim woman candidate fielded by BJP in Madhya Pradesh. However, she lost to Congress heavy-weight Arif Aqueel.

Fatima had polled a good 56,000 votes and can ill-afford to overlook the sentiment in the constituency.

Fatima’s father, late Rasool Ahmed Siddiqui was a senior Congress leader who served as a minister for two terms. She still feels no need to quit the party. But campaigning for Sadhvi is a different proposition.

Voting in Bhopal will take place on May 12. The counting of votes will be held on May 23.

With agencies inputs