The election to Okha Municipality is going to be held on 3rd October and counting on October 5. In an apparent bid to woo the Muslim votes, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated eight Muslim candidates for the election to ‘Okha municipality’ in Devbhumi Dwarka district. This is two more than the previous election.
The election to 36 seats of the Okha municipality is due on October 3. Total 85 candidates are in the fray. BJP main rival Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are also contesting from a majority of seats.
Pradip Khimani (convener of the municipalities’ cell of Gujarat BJP) said, “We have tried to give fair representation to all communities. Hence the number of tickets given to Muslims is higher.”
Sources say, “In 2016, we had fielded six Muslims and only one had won. Muslims account for almost 80 per cent of voters in ward No. 2 and Ward No. 5… So the party has given one more ticket each for Muslims in those wards.”
This year, 3 out of 4 BJP candidates in Ward No. 2 are Muslims. BJP has also fielded one Muslim candidate in Ward No.3 and Ward No.7. Ward No.3 and Ward No.7 are the wards where Muslims are the largest electorate group but not as dominant as other wards. However, in Okha Municipality, there are 50,196 registered voters. Out of which, nearly 20,000 are Muslim voters.
On the other hand, Congress has suffered a massive blow as its seven candidates had withdrawn their nomination. Hence, Congress is contesting on only 29 seats. Out of this, 14 are Muslims. The party is contesting on all 4 seats in Ward No.5, 3 for Ward No.4, 2 each for Ward No.2 and 3, and 1 each for Ward No.1, 6, and 7.
Yasin Gajjan (president of Devbhumi Dwarka district unit of the Congress) said, “We have chosen party candidates with a focus on allowing young faces. The majority of our candidates are below 40 years of age.”