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‘Not a rebel’, asserts Maha Congress Working President Naseem Khan after quitting poll campaign

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

Mumbai, April 27 (IANS) A day after he quit the Congress electioneering as Star Campaigner and the Campaign Committee, state Working President M. Arif Naseem Khan said that he is not a rebel and continues to respect the party leadership as always, here on Saturday.

Mumbai, April 27 (IANS) A day after he quit the Congress electioneering as Star Campaigner and the Campaign Committee, state Working President M. Arif Naseem Khan said that he is not a rebel and continues to respect the party leadership as always, here on Saturday.

Speaking to the media, Khan said that contrary to speculation, his decision was “not influenced” by any extraneous factors but out of sheer disappointment as the Congress-Maha Vikas Aghadi has not fielded a single Muslim minority candidate for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls in the state.

“I was assured that the city and state units had recommended my name for a Lok Sabha seat, but that has not happened. As the Muslim community’s leader in the Congress, I am barged with embarrassing questions for which I have no answers. Hence I have resigned from my responsibilities for the LS polls,” said Khan.

He added that he remains with the party and will highlight his grievances before the Congress high command soon in the interest of the minorities who are solidly standing with the party in all the 48 LS seats.

“However, wherever I go, I am being asked ‘whether the Congress wants only Muslim votes, but doesn’t need any Muslim LS candidates’, and I have nothing to say to them…,” a peeved Khan pointed out.

The state Working President’s decision late on Friday sent shockwaves in the Congress-MVA circles, coming a day after the Congress named Mumbai city chief Prof. Varsha Gaikwad as the candidate for Mumbai North Central LS constituency.

“I have no objections against Gaikwad’s nomination, she is like my younger sister. I have no complaints vis-a-vis the state and central leaderships which are working all out to oust the BJP in the state and country, nor will I do anything to weaken their efforts,” said Khan.

Asserting that he was fully behind the Nehru-Gandhi family, plus Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, he claimed that “I am not a rebel”, but raising his voice on a genuine issue concerning the minorities supporting the Congress party.

“In the past, there were many Muslim candidates fielded in Maharashtra and other parts of India… This time (2024), the MVA has not nominated a single Muslim in the state though their population here is around 12 per cent (around 1.50 crore) of the total 12 crore people in the state,” argued Khan.

In 2014 and 2019, the Congress had nominated a sole candidate, Hidayatulla Barkatulla Patel in Akola, who lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sanjay S. Dhotre on both occasions.

Khan reiterated that in the past he had always worked sincerely for the party in Maharashtra and other states he was assigned, but in protest against the decision ignoring any Muslim candidates in 2024, he had decided to opt out of the Congress’ election campaign.

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