NEW DELHI: As the political parties are campaigning hard to win the coming MCD polls, Muslim voters are likely to play a crucial role in deciding the outcome in several wards, specially those in Chandni Chowk, East and North-East Delhi parliamentary constituencies.
Muslims constitute around 13 per cent of the Delhi's population.
While the Congress has fielded 24 candidates from the minority community, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have fielded seven and four such candidates, respectively.
Asserting that the Congress will sweep the minority-dominated areas, Delhi Congress vice-president and former chairman of the party's minority department, Ali Mehdi, said that the community "trusts Congress" more than any other parties.
"Be it Delhi riots or Jahangirpuri violence, the Congress has always been vocal about the issues of the minorities. We have fielded 24 candidates from the minority community and we are confident that the party will sweep the minority-dominated areas," Mehdi told PTI.
He said that candidates from minority community have been fielded from Mustafabad, Seelampur, Okhla, Babarpur, Matia Mahal, Laxmi Nagar, Krishna Nagar and Jama Masjid areas by the Delhi Congress.
Alleging that the BJP and AAP "neglected" the minorities in Delhi, Mehdi said, "While the BJP fuelled hatred amongst people, AAP chose to remain silent and even distanced itself from minority-related issues."
He further said that the Congress worked towards promoting communal harmony in the city on multiple occasions.
"We reached out to them when Delhi riots took place in 2020. We helped them during the Covid-induced lockdown. They trust us more than any other parties," he said.
The BJP has fielded four candidates from the backward Pasmanda Muslims, including three women, in the upcoming civic body polls. The contenders include a social activist, a would-be lawyer and a scrap dealer.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Yasir Gilani said that even as the party fielded less number of Muslim candidates in the civic polls, all of them have "strong influence" in their respective wards.
"We fielded very few Muslim candidates but they will ensure that the BJP get votes of the minority community and win on seats dominated by them. All four candidates have strong influence in their respective wards and they will surely win," Gilani told PTI.
The BJP candidates had said that they are getting good response from people in their respective wards.
The saffron party has fielded Irfan Maliq from Chandni Mahal, Samina Raja from Quraish Nagar, Saba Ghazi from Chauhan Bangar, and Shabnam Maliq from Mustfabad wards of the MCD --The mentality of Muslims is changing with time.
"People are now focused on delivery of services and how can they get benefits from the government rather than sticking to the Hindu-Muslim cliche," one of the Muslim candidates said when asked how they were convincing people to vote for BJP.
The AAP has fielded seven candidates from the minority community for the upcoming civic body elections.
When asked whether the party's approach towards the issues of minorities in the last one year would sway the minority community's votes, AAP's MCD election in-charge Durgesh Pathak said every citizen in Delhi would vote for the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in the upcoming polls.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi is also a contender in the MCD polls and has fielded its candidates in several Muslim-dominated wards in the city.
The voting for 250 wards of MCD elections will be held on December 4 and votes will be counted on December 7.