If Bihar Exit Polls Prove Right, Will Muslim Representation Go up in Assembly?

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Most of the TV news channels and pollsters have predicted that the Mahagathbandhan may get anything between 108-180 seats

Mumtaz Alam | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Most of the exit polls on the Bihar Assembly Elections 2020 have predicted a simple to massive victory for the RJD-Congress grand alliance or Mahagathbandhan and a drubbing for the ruling JDU-BJP alliance or NDA. If the prediction turns out to be true after counting of the votes on Tuesday, will the new Assembly see a rise in the Muslim representation?

The three-phase polling for the 243-member Bihar Assembly ended Saturday evening. Several TV news channels and pollsters thereafter released their data on exit polls and most of them predicted that the Mahagathbandhan may get anything between 108-180 seats. One channel said the alliance would get 120 seats while another predicted 180 seats for it. However, Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar has predicted a clear victory for NDA.

  Exit Polls – Bihar Assembly Elections 2020  
Pollsters NDA Mahagathbandhan LJP Others
CNN News 18- Todays Chanakya 55 180 0 8
India Today-Axis My India 69-91 139-161 3-5 6-10
News X-Dvresearch 110-117 108-123 4-10 8-23
Republic TV- Jan Ki Baat 91-117 118-138 5-8 3-6
Times Now-C voter 116 120 1 6
Dainik Bhaskar 120-127 71-81 12-23 19-27

If the Mahagathbandhan comprising RJD, Congress and three left parties–CPI, CPIM and CPIML–sweeps the poll as per the exit polls, it is likely the number of Muslim MLAs would go up from the current 24. RJD has fielded 16 Muslim candidates in this election, the Congress 12 and CPIML has fielded three. But this outcome will largely depend on how tactical was the voting pattern in the third phase, particularly in the Seemanchal region of Bihar where minority votes are in large numbers. In this region, besides RJD and the Congress, JDU and the All India Majlis-experience-Ittehadul Muslimeen of Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi have also fielded several Muslim candidates. And on many seats in this region, there was a strong triangular fight among Mahagathbandhan, JDU and Owaisi’s AIMIM.

Muslim Representation in Bihar Assembly (2005-2015)  
    Party-wise Muslim MLAs  
    2005 (Feb) 2005 (Oct) 2010 2015  
Party Tally          
RJD 75 10 54 — 04 22 — 06 80 — 12  
JDU 55 04 88 — 04 115 — 07 71 — 05  
Congress 10 03 09 — 04 04 — 03 27 — 06  
NCP 03 02 01 — 01      
CPIML 07 01 05 — 01   03 — 01  
BSP 02 01        
SP 04 01        
LJP     10 — 01 03 — 02    
BJP       91 — 01    
IND 17 01 10 — 01      
             
             
Total   23     16 19 24  

In the 2015 Assembly polls, 24 Muslim candidates from different parties had won–12 from RJD and 6 from the Congress, 5 from JDU and 1 from CPIML. However, an interesting fact is that in 2015, JDU was then part of the Mahagathbandhan but this time, it is contesting as an alliance partner of BJP. The 2015 performance of minority candidates was their best since the February 2005 Assembly polls.

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Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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