Muslim representation in Lok Sabha remain low; none elected from BJP

Updated 1:40 PM, 12 June, 2019
BJP, Lok Sabha election, Lok Sabha, General election, Lower House, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Muslim representation, Muslim, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Farooq Abdullah
Owaisi’s party had put 20 candidates in all, including five non-Muslim candidates from poorer sections of Hindus, of which five won the elections. He refuted the charge of having harmed the prospects of the Opposition alliance in the elections. Photo: PTI

India is home to nearly 150 million Muslims but there are only 27 representatives this time in the 542-member Lok Sabha. This indicates that there has been only a marginal rise in the number of Muslims elected to the Lower House over the years.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 23 Muslim MPs were elected to the Parliament. Even though an additional four Muslims were elected this year, the percentage of Muslim MPs representing the community is just 4.9 per cent. Muslims constitute 10.5 per cent of India’s total population.

The highest number of Muslim MPs elected to the Lok Sabha was in 1980, when 49 legislators represented the community. Most of the elected MPs are from the Congress and the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

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Even though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with a thumping majority, none of the Muslim candidates belong to the saffron party. The BJP fielded three Muslim candidates in Kashmir, two in West Bengal, and one in Lakshadweep. However, all six of them were defeated.

The AITC has five Muslim MPs — Nusrat Jahan Ruhi (Basirhat), Afrin Ali (Arambagh), Khalilur Rahman (Jangipur), Abu Taher Khan (Murshidabad) and Sajda Ahmed (Uluberia) — from West Bengal. The AITC is closely followed by the Congress with four Muslim MPs — Abdul Khaleque (Barpeta in Assam), Mohammad Sadique (Faridkot in Punjab), Dr Mohammad Jawed (Kishanganj in Bihar) and Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury (Maldaha Dakshin in West Bengal).

Three Muslims MPs, each from the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC), Indian Union Muslim League, Bahujan Samajwadi Party and Samajwadi Party, are going to be a part of the new Lok Sabha. While two are a part of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), there is one representation each from the All India United Democratic Front, National Congress Party, and Lok Jan Sakta Party.

Prominent Muslim leaders among them are NC leader Farooq Abdullah, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Samajwadi Party candidate Azam Khan.

If we look at the elected candidates as per states, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal elected the highest number of Muslim candidates, each at six. Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala elected three Muslim MPs, while Assam and Bihar elected two each. Punjab, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Lakshadweep have one Muslim MP each.

This time, Muslim MPs have been elected from 10 states, while in the last elections, they were elected from just seven states.

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