Syed Ali Mujtaba
The recently concluded Assembly election in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Telangana has witnessed an abysmal representation of the Muslim community in the legislature. This needs introspection and cannot be blamed on the community whose representation is fast dwindling in the state assemblies.
In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, there are only 02 Muslim MLAs. Rajasthan’s 200-member Assembly has only 06 Muslim MLAs. In Telangana’s 119-member Assembly, there are only 07 Muslim MLAs. In Chhattisgarh, the 90-member Assembly has no Muslim representation.
The population of Muslims in Madhya Pradesh is 7 per cent and as per their electoral strength, Muslims should have at least 16 MLAs but there are only 2 representatives from the community. There are no Muslims in the 163 winners from the BJP. In the state, Congress that has won a total of 66 seats, there are 2 two Muslim MLAs from the party, both coming from Bhopal.
In Chhattisgarh, Muslims stare at their diminishing representation in the legislative assembly. In the 90-member Legislative Assembly, there is no Muslim MLA. As per the 2011 Census, Muslims are around 2.2 percent in Chhattisgarh and in 20023 they may have become 3.5 percent, but there is no representation of the Muslims in the Assembly. Both Congress and the BJP have sidelined the Muslims in the distribution of the tickets. The Congress has fielded only one candidate Mohammad Akbar who had won the 2018 assembly election but this time he lost to BJP’s Vijay Sharma in his Kawardha constituency. Mohammad Akbar the Congress candidate from Kawardha constituency was particularly targeted by the BJP had left no stone unturned to ensure his defeat.
In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, there are 6 Muslim MLAs. None of the 115 winners from the BJP ticket is a Muslim All the winning Muslim MLAs belong to the Congress party except Yoonus Khan who won as an Independent. In 2018, Yoonus Khan had contested the election on the BJP ticket. The Congress had fielded 15 Muslim candidates but 10 of them lost the elections, mostly against the BJP candidates. The population of Muslims in Rajasthan is about 10 percent and they should have at least 20 Muslim MLAs but only 6 Muslims have found their way into the assembly.
In Telangana’s 119-member Assembly, there is only 7 Muslim MLAs. All 7 candidates belong to the AIMIM (All India Majlis- e -Ittehadul Muslimeen). The Congress Party won a total of 64 seats but none among them was a Muslim. The ruling BRS won a total of 39 seats but none of them is a Muslim. The population of Muslims in Telangana is around 13 percent and they should have at least 15 Muslim MLAs but have just 7 Muslim members in the assembly.
In Telangana, the BJP has not given tickets to the Muslim candidates but the Congress and the BRS have given the tickets to the Muslim candidates but none of them could win the election.
With 7 Muslim MLAs in Telangana, 6 in Rajasthan, and 2 in Madhya Pradesh, there is no Muslim elected member on the treasury side in all three states of India. This is a serious matter and needs introspection.
What is amply demonstrated from the state Assembly elections is Muslims are marginalized in terms of political representation and this poses a grave danger to the community.
The Assembly results have sent the message that it is politics that is going to decide the future of the Muslim community in India. If such is the case then Muslims have to decide as to what kind of politics they want, if they have to live with dignity in this country.