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Major Minority Muslim Community Presentation in the 16th Lok Sabha

New Delhi, 17 May-2014, Kashif-ul-Huda(TCN): Rise of BJP almost always leads to shrinking political space for Muslims. BJP rules Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh- states that has not elected a Muslim as MP for a while. BJP sweep in Uttar Pradesh adds this state also in the list of states that will not be sending any Muslim MP to the Lok Sabha along with Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Jharkhand of the big states. In the last Lok Sabha there were seven Muslim MPs from UP, 16th Lok Sabha will have no MP from this religious group that is about 20% of this state population.

Major Minority Muslim Community Presentation in the 16th Lok Sabha

Burqa clad women in BJP rally
By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net

Count of Muslim MPs in every Lok Sabha has remained between 20s to 30s. Only in 1980 (51 Muslim MPs) and in 1984 (48 Muslim MPs) did India’s largest minority community was able to break the barrier of 30s. Thanks to Modi Tsunami in Uttar Pradesh, number of Muslim MPs in 16th Lok Sabha is going to be just 23, a 4% representation for a community that is 14% of the population.

Obviously, Muslim MPs not just represent Muslims and non-Muslim MPs also supposed to represent their Muslim constituents but if there was no bias against Muslims this number would not have consistently stayed below 40. Anti-Muslim core of BJP politics that delivers the vote for the party also creates an environment where even Congress seems reluctant to give tickets to their Muslim candidates. And in those polarized environment Muslim candidates fail to win seats.

BJP contested 428 seats in this election, out of which seven of its candidates were Muslims. However, only one-Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, the three-time MP was expected to win. He narrowly lost this time by a margin of 9485 votes leaving BJP with 282 MPs but none of them Muslim.

This means that there is one Muslim in 336 seats that NDA will be occupying in the 16th Lok Sabha. The lone Muslim in NDA is Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser who won Khagaria on Lok Jan Shakti Party ticket. Choudhary sahib until recently used to be in the Congress, he was their three-time MLA and party chief for Bihar. He quit congress when he was denied ticket and joined LJP. The only Muslim MP in NDA turns out to be a Congress man.

There used to be three Muslim women MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha, now it’s going to be two with Mausam Noor retaining her seat and Mahbooba Mufti returning back to Lok Sabha after a gap of five years. Both come from well-established political families.

Muslim-led parties have returned 8 of the 23 Muslim MPs this time around. Last time they had 7 MPs in the list of 30 Muslim MPs- a growth of just one seat but an increased in their percentage share. Perhaps, it’s a signal to Muslim voters that their reliable representation can come from these parties.

A visual reminder of marginalization of Muslims in India is the map that will show the states where Muslim MPs come from- all in the bordered states with nothing from the heartland. Will this mean end of Urdu-speaking Muslim leadership that used to come from UP and reside in Delhi region? A geographical, linguistic, and generational shift in Muslim leadership may not be such a bad idea.

State-wise distribution of Muslim MPs:

State     16th Lok Sabha   15th Lok Sabha
Andhra              1                                1
Assam                2                               2
Bihar                  4                                3
J&K                     3                               3
Kerala               3                                3
Lakshwadeep 1                                1
Tamil Nadu     1                                2
West Bengal    8                               7

Input Source: TCN