Fatima Rasool Siddiqui is drawing eyeballs, and understandably so. She is the BJP’s lone Muslim woman candidate for the Bhopal (North) Assembly seat.
Her family members have for decades had strong political affiliation with Congress party. While her late father, Rasool Siddiqui, held the same seat she is contesting from for the Congress in the 1980s and registered back-to-back victories, Fatima is fighting for the same seat from BJP.
Fatima is pitted against five-time MLA Arif Aqueel of the Congress, who had defeated her father in that seat as an Independent candidate in 1993.
Fatima joined BJP on November 8th and since then she is drawing media attention for becoming the only Muslim woman candidate fighting in the upcoming Assembly polls. While Fatima lost her Congress-swearing father 20 years ago, she could not quite connect with the party as closely as her father. In her opinion, “The Congress of the past no longer exists in any case. Where are the leaders like Shyama Charan Shukla?” she says, The Hindu reported.
For Fatima, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s good work for all sections of society, inspired her to join the BJP. At a recent event, she praised Chouhan’s efforts towards empowering women in the state. “I have seen the warm-hearted kindness of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, especially towards the girl child.”
She said that like her father, Chouhan also advocates “Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb” (secularism). To encourage her, Chouhan also accompanied her to the Collectorate as she filed her nomination papers.
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Fatima revealed that this is not the first time the BJP has approached her to join them. “I was approached in the 2013 polls too, but I had some reservations and couldn’t make up my mind on time,” she says. “This time around, there was no hesitation.”
“The Congress of the past no longer exists in any case. Where are the leaders like Shyama Charan Shukla?”
This is also not the first time BJP is fielding a Muslim candidate from the same seat. In 2013, the party fielded Arif Baig but Aqeel defeated him with 7,000 votes. On finding out that the BJP has fielded Fatima against him, Aqeel said, “The BJP has fielded a ‘novice girl’ against me as they could not find anyone else.” He expressed confidence in prevailing over Fatima by a bigger margin than in 2013.
Fatima too is confident of winning and says, “One of my priorities is to work towards improving the education infrastructure in my region.”
Picture credit- Timesnownews