Saturday, June 22, 2024

Muslim presence in Lok Sabha shrinks to 4.42%, 24 MPs from nine states in dwindling representation

Amidst major gains for India’s opposition coalition against Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which fell short of the absolute majority and need support from allies to form a government, Muslims see less representation in Lok Sabha.

Muslim faces have shrunk to 4.42% with only 24 MPs from the largest minority out of 543 seats. India’s 220 million Muslims make up a little under a fifth of its 1.4 billion population.

India had 26 MPs in the last Lok Sabha as the representation has been dwindling with the rise of majoritarian politics in the country. Modi’s second term ended with no Muslim minister after Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi resigned as the minorities affairs minister.

M Abdul Salam from Malappuram was the only Muslim out of some 430 BJP candidates running for parliament this year.

The Muslim parliamentarians come from only nine out of 28 states and 8 union territories, data compiled by Maktoob show. There is no MP from large Indian states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

INDIA alliance will send 21 Muslims to the parliament’s lower house while NDA have no Muslim representation to offer. Indian National Congress (INC) will have 7 Muslim representatives out of the 99 seats it won. All India Trinamool Congress will send 5 MPs and the Samajwadi Party will have 4.

All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaddudin Owaisi will return to parliament with a thumping majority.

INC’s Rakibul Hussain will replace All India United Democratic Front’s Badruddin Ajmal from Dhubri in a major shift in Assam politics. Hussain won with a margin of 10.12 lakh votes – second-highest in this Lok Sabha election – after Indore, where BJP’s incumbent MP Shankar Lalwani won with a margin of 11.72 lakh votes.

Once a strong presence in Assam’s Muslim politics, AIUDF failed to bag even a single seat in this election.

Indian Union Muslim League have 3 lawmakers, two from Kerala and one from Tamil Nadu, maintaining its tally from the previous term. Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) won two seats while the North Kashmir seat went to an independent candidate Engineer Rashid.

Another independent candidate Haji Mohamad Haneefa won from Ladakh.

Activists and observers blame delimitation and the growing influence of Hindu nationalist ideology for the ‘marginalisation’ of Muslim voices.

Seats with Muslim population are being reserved for SC-ST candidates, points out Aasif Mujtaba, a researcher and Muslim activist from New Delhi.

He also criticised First Past the Post (FPTP) system for erasing Muslim presence in electoral politics

The constitutionally mandated way of conducting elections to parliament and assembly in India is the FPTP system. Under the FPTP, a territory is divided into spatial constituencies; and each constituency sends one representative.

Last year, a jailed Muslim student leader, in an opinion piece to Maktoob, urged Muslims to demand Proportional Representation ( PR).

“PR ensures ideological voting and it helps minorities join forces when they wish to stop the majoritarian assault or fight internally along caste/class lines when such a threat of majority recedes from the political horizon and aligns horizontally across religious groups,” Imam said.

According to Associated Press, India has more than 4,000 lawmakers in state legislatures across 28 states and Muslim lawmakers hold roughly 6% of these seats.

Modi’s Islamophobic hate speech eclipsed all other topics in his election campaign, raising concerns about his plans for the third term. BJP manifesto offered to bring the Unifrom Civil Code among a slew of policies that would be hostile to Muslim lives.

As counting in the mammoth elections ended, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is projected to enter third term with a weak majority. ‘Modi’s guarantee’ — the election slogan for BJP — failed BJP to win an absolute majority of over 273 seats, making them turn to allies who entered the coalition in recent months.

Shaheen Abdulla
Shaheen Abdulla
Shaheen Abdulla, an award-winning journalist, is the Deputy Editor of Maktoob.

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