Sofia Firdous- Odisha’s First-Ever Muslim Woman MLA

Sofia Firdous- Odisha's First-Ever Muslim Woman MLA

Earlier this year, Sofia Firdous, a 32-year-old real estate professional, was thrust into the political spotlight when her father, Mohammed Moquim, became ineligible to run for reelection as the Congress MLA for Cuttack, Odisha. With only 30 days to campaign, Sofia overcame the odds and won, becoming Odisha’s first-ever Muslim woman MLA by defeating BJP’s Purna Chandra Mahapatra by 8,001 votes.

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Sudden political journey

An Unexpected Political Trip Sofia Firdous was getting ready to help her father, Mohammed Moquim, run for reelection as the Congress member of state for Cuttack, Odisha, earlier this year. Moquim, who is also the managing director of the real estate company Metro Group, encountered an unforeseen challenge. He was unable to challenge the polls because the Supreme Court did not overturn his conviction in a loan fraud case involving the Orissa Rural Housing Development Corporation (ORHDC).

The Congress party turned to Sofia with just thirty days remaining before the state Assembly elections. The 32-year-old, who was advancing her real estate career, was unintentionally thrown into the political sphere. She became the first Muslim woman to be elected as an MLA in Odisha history, defeating Purna Chandra Mahapatra of the BJP by a margin of 8,001 votes.



The Astonishing Candidate


In a special interview with NDTV, Sofia talked about her early hesitation. She underlined, “I am not a politician.” About 400–500 people gathered at their home to support her when her father was unable to run, inspiring her to step up. They all overwhelmingly supported her candidacy, acknowledging the effort her father had put into establishing a solid foundation in Cuttack.

Even though Sofia entered politics abruptly, she was familiar with the electoral process. In both the 2014 and 2019 elections, she had been heavily involved in her father’s campaigns, overseeing social media, door-to-door outreach, and close collaboration with Congress party staff. Her familiarity with grassroots workers and this experience made her an obvious choice. Rumors in the media and a call from a senior party member



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A Race Against Time

Sofia had to prepare for a short campaign period, which presented a formidable challenge, in just one month. Her primary worry was if the voters who had faith in her father would also have faith in her. My main concern was that because my father had done so much grassroots work, people would know him well. He was defeated in 2014 and then triumphant in 2019. She questioned, “So why will people vote for me and trust me so quickly?” In the sweltering heat, campaigning took place from 6 am to 2 pm and again from 5 pm to 9 pm. Sofia concentrated on canvassing from door to door, sharing her report cards with pride and highlighting her father’s accomplishments. Voters responded favorably to this strategy.



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Young Blood in the Assembly

Sofia, one of the younger members of the Odisha Assembly, is eager to take on the upcoming challenges. She understands that she will be facing off against seasoned BJP and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) politicians led by Naveen Patnaik. Based on her work in real estate, which she began at age 21, Sofia has a track record of conquering obstacles. She remembers how difficult it was for her to become respected and well-known in the field, particularly following the establishment of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).


Motivation and Goals

Sofia finds motivation in her fellow Cuttack native and former Odisha chief minister Nandini Satpathy, dubbed the “Iron Lady of Odisha.” She wants to have a big influence on her community and follow in Satpathy’s footsteps. Her top priorities include solving Cuttack’s urgent drainage and mosquito problems. She also personally wants to make the city the center of India’s filigree industry.



Beyond Tags


Asked about her identity as a Muslim MLA, Sofia said, “I am an Odia, an Indian, and a woman first. Throughout my career and professional life in real estate, I have worked hard for women’s empowerment, and I will continue to do so in politics as well. Being a Muslim politician is something I have never given thought to.”


Sofia Firdousi’s journey from a real estate developer to history as Odisha’s first Muslim woman is a testament to her determination and community faith. With his background, youthful energy and dedication to social causes, he is poised to bring a fresh perspective to the Odisha Assembly and continue his father’s legacy of service..


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