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Who is Sofia Firdous, civil engineer-turned-politician to be Odisha's first Muslim woman MLA?

Sofia Firdous, the Congress MLA from the Barabati-Cuttack seat in Odisha, has got her name registered in history books. She is the first-ever Muslim woman legislator to have been elected to the Odisha Assembly.

Who is Sofia Firdous, civil engineer-turned-politician to be Odisha's first Muslim woman MLA? gcw
First Published Jun 9, 2024, 10:36 AM IST

As the first Muslim woman to be elected as an MLA in Odisha's history, Sofia Firdous of the Congress wrote history. Firdous, 32, who holds degrees in management and civil engineering, emerged victorious on the Barabati-Cuttack seat in the Odisha Assembly election results declared on June 4.

In the Barabati-Cuttack seat, she defeated Purna Chandra Mahapatra of the BJP by a margin of 8,001 votes, with Prakash Chandra Behra of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) placing third.

Sofia Firdous is the daughter of Mohammed Moquim, a prominent Congress leader who previously served as the Member of Legislative from the same seat until being disqualified due to his conviction in a corruption case. The Congress then made the decision to run Firdous for the position.

The 32-year-old is a Civil Engineering graduate from the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology under KIIT University in Bhubaneswar. In 2022, she also finished the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore's (IIM-B) Executive General Management Programme.

Before her electoral debut, Firdous was director of her father’s Metro Builders company. She is also associated with the Bhubaneswar unit of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (Credai).

She is the Co-Chair of the Bhubaneswar Chapter of the CII - Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and a core member of INWEC India. She is married to entrepreneur Sheikh Meraj Ul Haque.

As per her poll affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, Firdous does not face any criminal charges. Her total assets stand at around Rs 5 crore, and she has liabilities of nearly Rs 28 lakhs. In the 2019 assembly election, Firdous’s father, Moquim won the Barabati-Cuttack seat by 2,123 votes against BJD’s Debashish Samantaray.

In the 2024 Odisha Assembly elections, the BJP secured a majority, winning 78 of the 147 seats, ending Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) 24-year rule in the state.

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