Gujarat Polls: Lone Muslim MLA in 156-member Assembly

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Data suggests Muslims have not been able to reach one-third of their due share. But the 2022 polls witnessed least representation of Muslims with a lone candidate making it to the state assembly.

Shibra | Clarion India 

THE 15th Assembly elections in Gujarat, the results of which were announced on Thursday, threw up an outcome which is both surprising and unpredicatable on many counts. Among them is the representation of Muslims that marked the complete marginalisation of the community from the body politic of the state.     

The incumbent Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is set to form a government for the seventh consecutive term after registering a thumping victory with a record 156 seats. Indian National Congress bagged 17 seats while the relatively new entrant, Aam Aadmi party (AAP) which entered the fray for the first time in the state, won a measly five seats. The remaining four seats went to others.

The BJP, with 52 per cent votes, claimed the highest share of votes in the last three elections while Congress polled 27 per cent of the votes, the party suffered a loss of 14 per cent votes as compared to the votes it grossed in 2017 and 11 per cent in 2012.

The 182-member state Assembly has a reasonable share of marginalised communities belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Muslims. As per the 2011 census, the population of SCs, STs and Muslims account for 7.1, 14.75 and 9.67 per cent of the state’s population, respectively.

Of the 182 seats, 13 are reserved for the SCs and 27 for the STs. But while magnifying the condition of the almost 10 per cent population of the state, data suggests that Muslims have not been able to cross one-third of their due share. But the 2022 polls witnessed least representation of Muslims with a lone candidate making it to the state assembly.

BJP’s historic win in the Gujarat assembly elections on Thursday brought in its wake a remarkable increase in the party’s share in the seats with predominantly Muslim population. However, the number of Muslims in the assembly dropped to one, from three in 2017. In the last 25 years, the maximum number of Muslim MLAs in Gujarat has only been five. Congress’ candidate Imran Khedawala is the lone Muslim member to reach state’s Assembly from Jamalpur Khadia.

There were 139 women candidates out of a total of 1,621 candidates in the fray this time. However, only 15 women candidates have registered victory, two more than in 2017 and dropped by one compared to 2012.  Of the 15 winning women candidates, 14 belong to the BJP and one to the Congress.

The BJP not only swept the Muslim dominated seats but also a majority of the SC and ST reserved seats. Congress won two while the BJP got 11 of the 13 seats reserved for the SCs. Of the 27 seats reserved for the STs, Congress won on three, namely Vansda, Danta and Khedbrahma while the AAP bagged Dediapada seat.

According to the data, Congress suffered huge losses on the reserved seats. In the assembly elections of 2017, the grand old party had won four of the 13 SC seats and 15 of the 27 seats reserved for the STs.

Among the 17 Congress MLAs, two are from SC reserved seats, three from ST reserved seats while one woman and one Muslim candidate.

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Photo: People show their identification cards as they wait in a queue to cast their votes during the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections, in Rajkot. — PTI

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