Naqvi’s Exit Next Month to End BJP’s Muslim Representation in Parliament, Assemblies

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The tenure of the two other Muslim members from the BJP in the upper house are Syed Zafar Islam and party spokesperson and journalist-turned-politician M J Akbar is also ending on July 4 and June 29 respectively.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — On July 7, almost a month from now, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s tenure as a Rajya Sabha member is going to end. This will mark the end of the representation of Muslims from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Parliament — both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha— or as members of the legislative assembly in any of the states or Union territories.


The tenure of the two other Muslim members from the BJP in the upper house are Syed Zafar Islam and party spokesperson and journalist-turned-politician M J Akbar is also ending on July 4 and June 29 respectively.


Parliament and state assemblies put together house of 4,908 seats— 543 Lok Sabha, 245 Rajya Sabha and the remaining 4,120 legislative bodies of the states and UTs comprise.


The last Muslim BJP member in the Lok Sabha was Shah Nawaz Hussain who represented the Bhagalpur constituency from Bihar after winning the seat in the 2009 general elections. In the 2014 general elections, the party fielded seven Muslim candidates but none managed to win.


Similarly, in the 2019 national elections, none of the six Muslim candidates— three from J&K, two from West Bengal and one from Lakshadweep — who fought on BJP tickets managed to win. Experts attribute the lack of Muslim representation to the party’s anti-Muslim agenda which in turn means people are not even going to vote for its Muslim candidates who are fielded from areas where Muslims are a majority.


In the recent UP assembly elections, of the 403 total seats, the BJP fielded no Muslim candidate at all. There was one Muslim candidate from Apna Dal, a constituent of the NDA, Haider Ali Khan from the Rampur seat. He was defeated by Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan, son of SP stalwart Azam Khan.


In the state legislative assemblies, Muslim representation in the BJP is nowhere in the picture. Till a few years ago, the party had four Muslims as MLAs, one each from J&K and Rajasthan, and two in Assam.


Abdul Gani Kohli, a BJP leader from Kalakote, J&K won in 2014 and was minister till the coalition government ended in 2018. Yunus Khan was a BJP MLA from Didwana in Rajasthan between 2013 and 2018 and also a minister in the Vasundhara Raje government. He lost to Sachin Pilot in 2018 from Tonk. Another Muslim face in the Vasundhara Raje Government was Habibur Rehman who had won Naguar in 2013. It was Aminul Haque Laskar in Assam who was an MLA from the Sonai constituency in the last tenure. However, in 2021, he lost to Karim Uddin Barbhuiya of the All India United Democratic Front.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

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