Syed Khalique Ahmed : Ahmedabad, Fri Dec 21 2012, 12:18 hrs
The BJP’s victory in the Gujarat Assembly elections has brought down the number of Muslim MLAs in the state from five in 2007 to two in 2012.
The Congress had fielded seven Muslim candidates of whom two won. The BJP and the Gujarat Parivartan Party had not fielded any Muslim.
The two who won are Gayasuddin Sheikh from Dariapur in Ahmedabad and Mohammed Javed Peerzada from Wankaner in Rajkot.
Gayasuddin won narrowly — securing 60,967 votes against his BJP rival Bharat Barot’s 58,346 — while Peerzada won by a slightly higher margin, 55,391 votes against BJP rival Jitendra Somani’s 48,740.
The five Muslim candidates who lost are Amir Ali Lodhiya from Bhuj, Iqbal Patel from Vagra, Kadeer Peerzada from Surat East, Samir Khan from Jamalpur-Khadia and Murutzakhan Pathan from Vejalpur.
According to Congress leaders, Samir Khan lost because of sitting Congress MLA Sabir Kabuliwala contesting as Independent after being denied a nomination. The seat went to Ashok Bhatt of the BJP. If Kabuliwala, who polled 40,668 votes, had not been in the fray, Samir Khan would have secured more than 70,000 votes against the 48,388 polled by the BJP candidate, according to the Congress leaders’ calculations.