Mohammad and Saira Patel. Photo: Hindustan Times
Mohammad and Saira Patel. Photo: Hindustan Times

In a move that is unprecedented in Indian politics, a Mumbai husband and wife have filed separate nominations to contest the presidential election concurrently, according to media reports. It is also the first time a Muslim woman has thrown her hat into the ring.

Mohammad Abdul Hamid Patel, 55, and Saira Bano Patel, 52, who live in Andheri (West), know that their chances are slim, but they are undeterred.

The Hindustan Times quoted Mohammad as saying, “The beauty of Indian democracy is that it not only gives an opportunity to a chaiwala to become the prime minister but also guarantees an equal chance to ordinary citizens such as us.”

According to the rules, 50 MPs or MLAs must propose a candidate’s name and 50 more must second the candidature, which obviously makes it a great challenge for the couple to contest the election. However, Mohammad is attempting to overcome this obstacle by filing a public interest litigation, contending that the electoral system “hinders the independence of the office.”

Saira added, “Through my nomination, I want to convey a message to the Muslim world that,It is  in India, even a burkha-clad woman has every right to become the first citizen of the country.”

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