Cong nominates a political novice as candidate for Bharuch

While the Congress is still struggling to finalise its candidates for the remaining constituencies in Gujarat, the name of the Bharuch candidate it announced from Delhi has surprised many.

Aziz Tankarvi, the candidate nominated by the Congress for the Bharuch seat is a Gujarati poet, editor and a former school teacher. Tankarvi, who has been editor of the Gujarat Today, a trust-run Muslim community Gujarati newspaper for the last 18 years, is a novice in active politics.

Incidentally, the last time the Congress won the seat was nearly two decades ago when Ahmed Patel was elected.

The constituency, this time, will witness a four-cornered contest between the Congress, the BJP, Janata Dal (U) and Samajwadi Party. The Bharuch candidate, whose real name is Umerji Ahmed Ughratdar, is known in literary circles by his alias Aziz Tankarvi. Tankarvi, a resident of Bharuch's Tankaria village, who started as a school teacher, is making his debut as an LS candidate for a constituency for which there were many Congress contenders, including sitting Congress MLA Iqbal Patel and even his wife Rasheeda Patel, a former MLA.

Tankarvi says that impressed by Manmohan Singh's track record he has taken to active politics. "I am not doing this for fame, I intend to serve. Politics is not my full-time career. I intend to shift to my native place Tankaria and I might leave journalism,'' he says.

Gujarat Today is best remembered in recent times for an appeal that had appeared as an advertisement a day before the 2002 Assembly polls in Gujarat by the All India Ulema Muslim Council.

The advertisement had carried an appeal to all secular-minded people to vote for the Congress to defeat fascist-minded forces.

The BJP and VHP had dubbed the appeal as a "fatwa". However, Tankarvi makes light of the impact the advertisement had created in those days.

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