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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Dargah becomes focal point for BJP, Congress in Nagpur

Updated on: 13 April,2024 07:20 AM IST  |  Nagpur
Dipti Singh |

Both parties want to sway city’s Muslim vote bank

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Dargah becomes focal point for BJP, Congress in Nagpur

Hazrat Baba Tajuddin Dargah in Nagpur. Pic/Satej Shinde

The Hazrat Baba Tajuddin Dargah in Bada Taj Bagh, has become a focal point for both the BJP and Congress in their Lok Sabha election campaigns, aiming to sway the Muslim vote bank, which holds significant influence in the city. 

The BJP-led government has actively engaged in the development and beautification of the Dargah, garnering support from the Dargah trust. The Congress has been using images of the Dargah in their election posters alongside other revered saints and reformers. 

Despite efforts from both sides, the support of the Dargah trust leans more towards the BJP. This inclination was notably highlighted when Syed Talef Taji, the custodian of the Tajbagh Dargah and a descendant of Sufi mystic Tajuddin Baba, officially joined the BJP in March just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. 

Chairman of the trust with PM Modi
Chairman of the trust with PM Modi

Taji, whose lineage spans four generations descended from Tajuddin Baba, had emphasised that his decision was motivated by a commitment to serving the people. Taji’s inclusion in the BJP highlights the party’s endeavour to broaden its appeal among the Muslim community and secure a significant portion of the votes in Nagpur. 

Meanwhile, a Congress leader said, “The saint is revered by all communities, and the Dargah holds significance for everyone. It stands as an emblem of Nagpur’s cultural and religious harmony. Ultimately, people will support the candidate who has demonstrated dedication to public service and instilled enough trust.” The leader declined to elaborate further on the issue.

The issue of Congress using the photo of the shrine for the election campaign on the posters did not go down well with the office bearers of the trust. As per sources, there have been discussions within the trust that the party needed to seek permission from the charity commissioner before using the pictures. Chairman of the trust Pyare Khan did not respond to calls and messages.

Thakre, Barve, Gadkari get notice

In compliance with the Election Commission’s directives, the district complaint committee has been established to monitor the Lok Sabha election expenses. The first phase of elections for five Lok Sabha constituencies in Vidarbha is scheduled for April 19.

Nitin Gadkari meeting his supporters during his ‘Lok Samvad Yatra’ road show in Nagpur. Pic/Satej Shinde
Nitin Gadkari meeting his supporters during his ‘Lok Samvad Yatra’ road show in Nagpur. Pic/Satej Shinde

By April 5, candidates contesting in the first phase must submit their expenditure details. Subsequently, notices were issued to some candidates in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Nagpur and Ramtek due to disparities between the expenses they reported and those observed by the administration and the cap set by the Election Commission. Failure to respond to the notice within the specified timeframe may lead to disciplinary action, as the notice stated.

Noteworthy candidates include Union Minister and BJP candidate from Nagpur, Nitin Gadkari, Congress candidate from Nagpur, Vikas Thakre, and Congress candidate from Ramtek, Shyam Barve.

A significant variance of Rs 13,63,000 was noted between the expenditure Gadkari reported and that the committee recorded. Gadkari declared expenses of approximately Rs 4,75,000, while the committee claims his expenditure amounted to R18,38,000. Furthermore, Vikas Thakrei and Shyam Barve recorded discrepancies of R8,92,000 and R2,95,000 in their expenditures, respectively.

Additionally, seven candidates from Ramtek and two from Nagpur are yet to disclose their poll expenditure details. The Election Commission has warned them of action if details are not submitted at the earliest.

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