Vote bank politics proved fatal for Muslims
by Ashok B Sharma on 26 May 2014 14 Comments

The decline in Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha to the level of 23, accounting for a mere 4.4% of the entire strength of the Lok Sabha, has given rise to concerns among Muslim clerics and the so-called secularists. A cursory look at the past will show that the situation is similar to that in 1957 when 23 Muslim MPs were elected after the general elections. The highest number of Muslim MPs elected was 49 in 1980 general elections. The results of the recent general elections has, however, led to much head-shaking among the Muslim clerics and in the “secular” cabal, pointing accusatory fingers at the Modi wave that swept the polls.


Actually, Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha has always been erratic. Analysis shows that the number of Muslim MPs remained within the 20s from the first general election in 1951-52 till the fifth general election in 1971. In 1977, the number of Muslim MPs increased to 32 and thereafter reached its record high at 49 in 1980. In 1984-85, which gave Rajiv Gandhi a record majority of 404 seats, the number of Muslim MPs fell to 45 and thereafter the numbers declined to 33 in 1989, 29 in 1991 and 27 in 1996.


The number of Muslim MPs remained within 30s subsequently - it was 38 in 1998, 32 in 1999, 35 in 2004 and 28 in 2009.


What has actually raised concerns among the Muslim clergy and the “secularists” is that in 2014, the largest state of Uttar Pradesh that has a Muslim population of over 18 per cent, not a single Muslim was elected. This in fact has been the first instance so far that no Muslim MP was elected from UP. The number of Muslim MPs elected from UP varied in every election - the highest number being 18 in 1980 and the lowest being five in 1962.


In 2009, seven Muslim candidates - Salman Khurshid , Mohammad Azharuddin and Zafar Ali Naqvi from the Congress and Kadir Rana, Shafiqur Rehman Barq, Kaiser Jahan and Tabassum Hasan from BSP won from UP.


This time there were 55 Muslim candidates in the poll fray in UP - BSP (19), Samajwadi Party (13), Congress (11) and the Aam Aadmi Party (12). Interestingly, none of the Muslim contestants made it even to the second spot; most lost heavily. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not field any field any Muslim candidate but won from at least 21 constituencies in which the Muslim community has a decisive say, expect Azamgarh and Badaun, which were cornered by the Samajwadi Party.


What has caused this situation? The so-called secular parties treated Muslims as their vote bank and never supported their actual development to join the national mainstream. Each of these parties had a one-point agenda to ‘Stop Modi, Stop BJP’. They tried to instill fear in the minds of Muslims that BJP’s victory would be dangerous for them. Sharp competition among the so called secular parties ended by splitting the Muslim vote. The BJP, on the other hand, extended its reach by breaking through caste and religion barriers with its programmes for development, and emerged as the ultimate gainer. Even some Muslims, including the Shias, voted for the BJP.


A similar situation prevailed in other parts of the country. It is not that the BJP did not put up any Muslim candidates outside UP. The party fielded five Muslim candidates in total, but all of them lost, including Shahnawaz Hussain from Bhagalpur, Bihar, who lost by a narrow margin of 9,485 votes. However, the NDA’s winning candidates include Choudhary Mahboob Ali Kaiser (Khagaria, Bihar) of Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Jansakti Party.


Though UP has been unable to elect any Muslim MP for the Lok Sabha, West Bengal elected as many as 8 MPs from the community – 4 from Trinamool Congress, 2 each from Congress and CPI(M). Bihar elected 4 Muslim MPs – one each from Congress, NCP, RJD and Lok Jan Shakti Party.


Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir elected 3 Muslim MPs each. Two Muslim MPs from Kerala are from the Indian Union Muslim League and one from Congress. In Jammu and Kashmir all the 3 elected MPs are from Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party. Assam elected 2 Muslims from the All India United Democratic Front. Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Tamil Nadu elected one Muslim MP each from All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Nationalist Congress Party and AIADMK respectively.


Why blame the BJP alone? The so-called secular parties have not been able to get adequate number of Muslim MPs elected to the Lok Sabha. They were more engaged in Modi-baiting and instilling fears in the minds of the Muslims that a BJP government would work against their interests. They projected themselves as “saviours” of the Muslims, in the name of “secularism”. This is how they wanted to create their vote bank among the Muslim community.


Narendra Modi after coming to power needs to expose this fake secularism and vote bank politics. The BJP can be expected to deal honourably with the Muslims and work for the real development of the community. 

User Comments Post a Comment

Back to Top