Friday, February 22, 2008

Do we need Muslim MLAs: Concerns over delimitation of constituencies in Delhi

There is lot of concern expressed regarding the de-limitation (had-bandi) of Assembly constituencies in Delhi.

The Muslim leaders are complaining that their constituencies have been worst affected and there are apprehensions that even fewer Muslims would make it to the Assembly.

Since independence the Lal Quila and Jama Masjid were part of the Matia Mahal constituency. The voters of these areas will now vote in Chandni Chowk.

 "The irony is that Matia Mahal is no longer part of the Matia Mahal constituency, and new areas have been added", says Shoaib Iqbal, who has been representing the seat for 15 years.

Many say that hardly Muslim MLAs would get into the Assembly, the elections for which are due in October this year.Delhi has 70 Assembly constituencies. Concerns are also visible in newspapers that Muslim presence will dwindle in the house.

But does the number of Muslim MLAs matter much?

Is it not better if the real issues--refurbishing of school buildings, cleanliness in slums, proper drinking water, opening of schools and dispensaries, registration of poor under the BPL list and similar basic needs--are raised.

And any candidate, irrespective of his religion or party, who promises to deliver on these counts, should be voted. Of course, the promise should be public and in presence of prominent citizens. I am sure, there is no dearth of dynamic persons, who can ensure basic amenities and at least make an effort towards that, after all, it's not a big bargain.