Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Irony: Muslims will vote for 403 seats in UP but can contest just 318

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, is going to polls. The state with a population of nearly 200 million, has the largest Muslim population in the country.

On Wednesday, as poll schedule was announced, a post about the fact that Muslim candidates can't contest all the seats in UP, was being shared widely on social media.

It mentioned that soon after independence, the discrimination began. So Muslims will vote in each constituency but they can't contest in each of them. Why? It is because Muslim Dalits and Muslim Tribals are denied reservation.

As a result, the seats reserved for Dalits, can't have Muslim contestants. This is because of a Presidential ordinance. And, it is true for most other states too--on seats reserved for SCs and most seats reserved for STs too (with some exceptions).

First, Tariq Anwar Champarni, wrote a post on Facebook, in the morning. He mentions, ""India is a secular state where there can't be any discrimination on the basis of religion...but see the other aspect...of all the 4,120 Assembly seats in India across different states and union territories, Muslims can't fight nearly 1161 seats (28%)".

Champarni writes that depriving a community from contesting polls on so many seats, leads to injustice from the beginning. Hindus can fight all the 4,120 seats and Muslims can contest just 1161 seats.

"If you are really secular, just, then you must fight to ensure that the backward-weaker sections among Muslims, get the right to contest election these seats", Champarni further wrote in this post.

Some other writers also expressed similar opinions. Author, journalist Dilip C Mandal also mentioned the fact. "It is a joke of Indian democracy that Muslim candidates can contest just 318 out of 403 seats in UP though they will vote on each seat...."

It is also a fact that often Muslim majority seats are kept reserved. With Muslim representation already low, it hurts the community further, feel observers.