December 3, 2015 12:55:25 am
Rajkot’s Sofia Zahid Dal, 37, is the first Muslim woman to have won on a BJP ticket in the Municipal Corporation elections, in her first electoral contest. Sofia is also the only Muslim woman candidate in the fray for one of the six municipal corporations.
The BJP had fielded a total of eight Muslim candidates for the municipal corporations – four from Ahmedabad, two from Jamnagar and two from Rajkot. No Muslim candidate was fielded from Bhavnagar, Surat and Vadodara. While all of them lost, Sofia came out victorious in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC).
She was fielded from Ward Number 1 of the RMC on the OBC seat reserved for women. There were three other BJP candidates from the same ward. All of them also won, with Sofia securing 11,700 votes. The other BJP candidates who won with her are Darshitaben Shah, Jaimin Thakar and Manish Radia.
A commerce graduate, Sofia is a mother of two daugthers – Mayasa, who’s doing Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Vakasha, who’s studying in Class X. Sofia said, “I feel elated on my victory. This was my first election.”
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She hopes to be appointed as chairperson of some committee in the RMC. She says that her husband and daughters help her in running the home which leaves her enough time for politics.
A former Congress worker, she along with her husband Zahid, joined the BJP after 2001 municipal elections at the insistence of Vijay Rupani, a senior BJP leader and currently a minister in the state BJP government. Zahid, a real estate dealer, had contested the RMC elections in 2001 on Congress ticket from Ward no. 1 but had lost by a margin of 228 votes. “Though we were in Congress, we had relations with Rupani sahib also. He asked us to join the BJP. That is how we entered BJP,” she explained. Commenting on Sofia’s victory, state BJP Minority Morcha president Mahboob Ali Chishty said: “A Muslim winning on a BJP ticket will help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of sab ka saath, sab ka vikas. It will also help in strengthening Hindu-Muslim political unity.”
Former president of State BJP Minority Morcha Sajjad Hira, who hails from Rajkot, said: “Sofia’s victory is a historical moment for the BJP in the state.”
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