BJP in Madhya Pradesh has filed the lone Muslim candidate named Fatima Rasul Siddaki in the Bhopal North constituency. She’s fighting against five-time Congress MLA and former minister Arif Aqeel, who has earned a good reputation among people due to his work after the Union Carbide gas leak tragedy and his easy accessibility.
She is the daughter of former Congress MLA Rasul Ahmed Siddaki and is a new face and most of the voters in the constituency said they have never seen her. The announcement of her candidature a day before the last date for filing nominations came as a surprise to many, including within the BJP, and this has led to disenchantment among a section of party contenders and their followers.
One of a the voters who is a tea shop owner said“I have never seen her and had not heard about her till her name was declared. She may get some Muslim votes, but most people will vote for Aqeel.”
The sitting MLA Aqeel is a popular figure in his constituency and has won five terms to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. One of the voters named Shakeel who runs a medicine business said “He does not differentiate between Hindus and Muslims when people seek his help. He is always available to them in any crisis. You can even hail his car if he is passing by and talk to him.”
According to the report published in the Economic Times, the sitting MLA is credited with establishing the Arif Nagar, a locality next to the Union Carbide factory after the 1984 gas leak tragedy. Victims of
the gas leak and their kin were settled in the area. As a minister in the Congress government, he had worked hard to get compensation to those affected.