Monday, May 18, 2009

Less Muslim MPs in Lok Sabha but no regrets

Though there has been a significant decline in representation of Muslims in this Lok Sabha election, Muslims don't seem to mind it, as the priority was to vote for suitable candidates irrespective of caste or religion. 

There has been nearly 20% downfall in number of Muslims elected to Lok Sabha in this elections compared to 2004. 

The figure is 29* out of 543. So Muslims will account for just 5% of MPs in the lower house of Parliament. Mukhtar Ansari, Rizwan Zahir and Taslimuddin are out of the house. 

M Shahabuddin's wife contested from Siwan but lost. Clearly, Muslims largely voted for better candidates than Muslim contestants. And it's a good sign. An active parliamentarian who promises to solve basic problems of the area is many times better than a candidate of one's caste or community who may not do anything. 

Evidently, CPM heavy-weight Mohammad Salim was defeated from a Muslim-majority constituency. Or the other veteran Hannan Mollah who lost in West Bengal. No Delimitation Effect In fact, after delimitation, it was felt that Muslims will win more seats because several constituencies that were earlier reserved for SCs and STs though had high minority concentration, had been de-reserved. 

But this didn't happen. So many candidates lost that one almost lost track. Shahid Siddiqui, Tariq Anwar, Rashid Masood, Noor Bano, CK Jaffer Sharief, AR Antulay, Maulana Maudood Madani, Salim Sherwani, Akbar Ahmad Dumpy, Dr Javed Akhtar, Afzal Ansari, Ilyas Azmi, Shahid Akhlaq, AA Fatimi et al. BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also lost at the multi-cornered fight in Rampur where Jaya Prada won despite Azam's Khan sabotage attempt. 

AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi did retain Hyderabad seat by defeating Zahid Ali Khan, who managed to secure nearly 2 lakh votes. The new entrants include M Azharuddin and the young lady Mausam Benazir Noor from Malda. There won't be any veterans except Farooq Abdullah and a few other recognised faces like E Ahamed and Salman Khurshid. Perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal has entered Lok Sabha from Assam. 

SP wins 23 seats but no Muslim MP

In Uttar Pradesh, Muslims voted for Congress and SP while Mayawati's BSP didn't get adequate Muslim support. Except a few seats where Ulema Council and Peace Party candidates took away fraction of vote, mostly Muslims voted for non-Muslim candidates of clean-image. What else explains the victory of SP in 23 seats, though not a single Muslim has won on SP ticket. 

This is a very strange situation. SP couldn't have won so many seats without Muslim vote, as Yadav population is barely 10-12% in UP while Muslims form 18-19% of the electorate. Though it's tally has gone down, it remains the third biggest party in terms of seats in parliament after Congress and BJP. 

While BSP that has over 22% strong Dalit voter can win without Muslim support, SP can't win as many seats, unless it gets any other important community or section in its fold. Clearly, Muslims voted for Congress and SP. So when Muslims voted, they went for party and candidate, not the 'Muslim identity.

In some places where BSP put up Muslim candidates, the party got the votes of the community. But BSP's other candidates didn't get the support of community. State-wise Muslim MPs Of the 29 Muslims elected to Lok Sabha, Congress has maximum winners from its ranks followed by National Conference and BSP (4 each), Muslim League and TMC (2 each), CPM, JDU, BJP, AIMIM, AUDF and DMK (1 each). 

None of the Muslim candidates of RJD, SP or any other party could reach the Parliament. For those interested in statistics, the highest number of Muslims was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 when the figure was 48. In 1984 also, the number of Muslim MPs was 41.

In the last election the figure was 36. In this election the 29 Muslim candidates who won from various states include: UP (7), WB (6), Kashmir (4), Bihar (3), Kerala (3), Tamil Nadu (2), Assam (2), AP (1) and Laccadives (1). From Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Jharkhand, no Muslim contestant emerged winner. [*There is confusion regarding status of Jehanara Chaudhary alias Rani Narah who has won from Assam and Kabir Suman who had converted to Islam.] See the list at TCN