The Muslim leadership in the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) is demanding tickets for the community leaders from as many as 14 seats in the Assembly elections due late this year.
Though the issue was not discussed at the GPCCs minority cell meet on Sunday since it was an open forum,minority cell leaders say they had submitted a list of the constituencies to the state party leadership almost a week ago.
They argue there were 12 Muslim MLAs in the state Assembly in 1985 but their number has come down to five at present,mainly because the Congress has been fielding fewer Muslim contestants but also because the growth of communalism since eighties made it difficult for Muslim candidates to win elections.
They say there are several seats with substantial Muslim votes and Muslim candidates can sail through if the Congress leadership effectively works to transfer non-Muslim Congress votes to Muslim candidates.
However,sources say the state leadership,which was averse to giving five tickets to Muslims even in 2007 Assembly elections,is reluctant to accept the demand because it fears polarisation and BJP benefitting from it.
Vazirkhan Pathan,president of GPCC (minority cell),said they had submitted a list of 13 Assembly constituencies for ticket allotment to Muslim candidates.
These constituencies,according to him,are Jamalpur,Dariapur-Kalupur,Vejalpur,Rakhial-Bapunagar,Sidhpur, Mandvi,Bhuj,Abdasa,Veraval,Mangrol,Surat East,Vankaner,Vagra,Jambusar or Ankleshwar.
GPCC president Arjun Modhwadia,when asked,said the tickets were allotted on winnability of candidates.
Winnability will be the sole criterion in allotment of tickets and nothing else, he said.