In an attempt to demonstrate its secular credentials, the newly established Indian Secular Front (ISF), headed by Furfura Sharif’s powerful cleric Abbas Siddiqui, has fielded candidates from all religions and castes for the West Bengal assembly elections.
The BJP and the Trinamool Congress have accused the newly formed political party of using the minority card to gain votes.
Ten of the 21 candidates declared by the Indian Secular Front as part of its share of seats in the coalition with the Left Front and the Congress so far are Hindus or Adivasis, whereas the rest are Muslims.
The ISF’s president, Simul Soren, claimed that the party serves the Dalits, Adivasis, and OBCs regardless of their religious views.
The BJP and TMC argued that the Left Front and the Congress had compromised their secular values by forming an alliance with a group headed by a 34-year-old cleric from the Muslim shrine of Furfura Sharif in Hooghly district.
More About The Candidates In ISF:
A CPI(M) leader denied that the ISF is a communal party by adding candidates from all the religions, “The Siddiqui-led outfit has pledged to fight for the rights of the backward and downtrodden people of the society.”
He claims that his recently established political party with different background candidates would be the “kingmaker” in the state, which has approximately 30% of Muslim voters.
Mr. Siddiqui dismissed as unfounded the allegation that he entered the election to slash the TMC’s Muslim vote base, which Mamata Banerjee has worked hard to cultivate.
“In the last 10 years, the TMC government has only fooled the Muslims and Dalits. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has done nothing for them,” Mr. Siddiqui told in a recent interview.
“We are not here only to seek Muslim votes but also backward community votes,” the ISF head said.
Mr. Soren is running for Haripal, while the Hindu and Adivasi candidates are Milan Mandi, Bikram Chatterjee, Gauranga Das, Sanchay Sarkar, and Anup Mandal.
The 11 Muslim ISF candidates include Sirajuddin Gaji, Sheikh Sabbir, Faisal Khan Abbasuddin Khan, Pirzada B Amin, and Md Mostaquim.
Mr. Siddiqui’s younger brother, Naushad Siddiqui, has been nominated by the party for the Bhangar constituency in the South 24 Parganas district.
The Left Front has offered to grant the ISF 30 seats from its kitty, while Congress has decided to offer it seven constituencies from which it contested the 2016 elections.
West Bengal will hold elections for 294 assembly seats between March 27 and April 29. On May 2, the votes will be recorded.