Ayodhya (UP): An independent Muslim candidate has secured a surprise victory in a ward in the Hindutva nerve centre of Ayodhya in the civic election results declared on Saturday. While the BJP won the mayoral election in Ayodhya, the party bagged 27 out of the 60 wards. The SP and Independents won 17 and 10 wards, respectively.

Sultan Ansari, a local youth making his electoral debut, won the Ram Abhiram Das ward named after a key figure of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple movement.

“This is the best example of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and peaceful co-existence of both communities in Ayodhya. There was no bias from our Hindu brothers and also they did not treat me as someone from another religion. They supported me and ensured my victory,” Ansari told PTI.

The Muslim vote share in this ward located in the backyards of the Ram Janmabhoomi is only 11 per cent of the total votes with 440 Muslim votes as against 3,844 Hindu votes.

The winning candidate bagged 42 per cent share of the total 2,388 votes polled. Ansari got 996 votes among the 10 candidates in the fray. He defeated another independent candidate, Nagendra Manjhi, by a margin of 442 votes. The BJP managed to get the third position.

Asked if there was any hesitation in contesting from a Hindu-dominated area, he replied, “I am a resident of this area and to the best of my knowledge, my forefathers had been living here for more than 200 years. When I expressed my wish of contesting election to my Hindu friends, they wholeheartedly supported me and encouraged me to go ahead.”

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Anup Kumar, a local residence of the ward, said, “People looking at Ayodhya from outside think how any Muslim can exist in Ayodhya, but now they can see, Muslim not only exist in Ayodhya but can also win the elections.’

“Ayodhya is known world over for the Ram Mandir, but this religious town is as pious for Muslims as it is for Hindus. Here you will find lots of mosques and there are many centuries old mausoleums of Muslim Sufis as well,” said Saurabh Singh, an Ayodhya-based businessman.

The ruling BJP swept the mayoral elections in Uttar Pradesh winning the posts in 16 of the 17 municipal corporations on Saturday. Official results for the Varanasi mayoral election are expected later on Saturday.

In the temple town of Ayodhya, BJP candidate Girish Pati Tripathi won the mayoral election, defeating his nearest rival Ashish of the Samajwadi Party by a margin of 35,638 votes.

Tripathi bagged 77,494 votes. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidate Rehan secured the third position pocketing 15,107 votes. BSP candidate Ram Murti got 12,852 votes and Pramila Rajput of the Congress 4,084 votes, according to the State Election Commission (SEC).

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India 4 Kashmir is a Pan-India movement to reclaim our lost ground and rehabilitate common Indians in Kashmir with dignity and honour.