RUKMINI S | The Hindu
It is not just in the Lok Sabha where Muslim representation has fallen to an all-time low; Muslim representation in Assemblies is falling steadily too, an analysis by The Hindu shows.
After last month’s election results, Maharashtra is down from three Muslim ministers and 11 Muslim MLAs in the outgoing Assembly to nine legislators and no Muslim ministers. The BJP, which swept to power in the state with 122 MLAs fielded just one Muslim candidate, who lost.
Haryana meanwhile is down from five Muslim MLAs and one minister to three MLAs and no minister. The BJP, which won 47 seats to form government, fielded only two Muslims both of whom lost.
The situation in these two States is similar to that in the other seven States where the BJP is either in power or in alliance – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab. These nine States, which account for over a third of India’s population, have only 22 Muslim MLAs out of 1359 legislators that represent them. So while Muslims make up 8 per cent of the population of these states, they account for less than 2 per cent of MLAs.
Chhattisgarh and Goa have no Muslim MLA, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have one each and Rajasthan and Gujarat have one each. This is a significant change from how these states’ outgoing Assemblies looked; leaving out Andhra Pradesh whose boundaries changed, there were twice as many Muslim MLAs in the remaining eight States’ outgoing assemblies as there are today.
At the ministerial level, of the 151 Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State in the nine BJP-ruled States, just one – Yunus Khan, Public Works Department minister in the Rajasthan government – is a Muslim.
On the other hand, there are 52 ministers in the 13 big States not ruled by the BJP, making up 16 per cent of those States’ total ministerial berths. While Muslim-majority Jammu & Kashmir leads with three-fourth of its ministers Muslim, Kerala, Assam and Uttar Pradesh follow.
Non-BJP-ruled States have 300 Muslim MLAs, who make up 13 per cent of their Assemblies. These States, however, also have a higher Muslim proportion in their populations – 17 per cent going by the 2001 Census figures – as compared to BJP-ruled States.
“The process of delimitation has been such that Muslims do not form a sizeable number in many constituencies,” Navaid Hamid, general secretary of the Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians said.
“Added to that, there has been a systematic attempt by political parties to create hate against Muslims. If this continues, there is a fear that Muslims, especially youngsters, will lose faith in the electoral system,” he said.