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Meet Sofia Firdous, Odisha’s First-Ever Woman Muslim MLA: 5 Facts

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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.  Ms Firdous defeated BJP’s Purna Chandra Mahapatra by a margin of 8,001 votes.

Who is Sofia Firdous?

1. Sofia Firdous, 32, comes from a political family. She is the daughter of Mohammed Moquim, a senior Congress leader. The party replaced Mr Moquim with Ms Firdous in the 2024 Odisha Assembly elections, who emerged victorious. 

2. Ms Firdous holds a Civil Engineering degree from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology. She also completed an Executive General Management Program from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) in 2022.

3. In 2023, Ms Firdous was elected as the president of the Bhubaneswar chapter of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI). She also serves as the East Zone Coordinator for the CREDAI women’s wing.

4. 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. 

5. She follows in the footsteps of Nandini Satpathy, Odisha’s first woman chief minister, who represented the same constituency in 1972. 

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.

In the Lok Sabha elections, too, the BJP claimed victory in 20 of the 21 seats in the state, eight more than their tally of 12 in the 2019 polls. The remaining seat went to Congress, while the BJD did not win a single seat.

 Sofia Firdous, the Congress MLA from the Barabati-Cuttack seat in Odisha, has got her name registered in history books.    

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