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Minorities in the 16th Lok Sabha

The minority representation in the 16th Lok Sabha has taken a beating in the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll juggernaut. There are only 23 Muslim MPs in the new Lok Sabha, giving just 4% representation in the House to 14% of the population in the country. The BJP, which by itself has 282 seats does not have even one Muslim MP.


The BJP, which contested 428 seats across the country in this election, fielded just seven Muslims. This includedthree-time MP and the minority face of the BJP, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain. Like the other Muslims fielded by the BJP, Mr Hussain too lost, albeit by a narrow margin of 9485 votes. The NDA has 336 seats in the Lok Sabha with just one Muslim MP in Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser who won from the Khagariaseat in Bihar on a Lok Jan Shakti Party ticket.


West Bengal has sent the largest number of Muslims to the new Lok Sabha with seven members followed by Bihar where at least four Muslim candidates have won. The outgoing House had 29 Muslim members.


Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has sent three members from the community Idris Ali (Basirhat), Sultan Ahmed (Uluberia) and Mumtaz Sanghamita (Burdwan-Durgapur). Both the CPM MPs from Bengal, Badaruddoza Khan (Murshidabad) and Md Salim (Raiganj) are Muslims. Of the four seats won by the Congress in the state, two have gone to Mausam Noor (Maldaha Uttar) and Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury (Maldaha Dakshin).


From Bihar, the elected Muslim MPs are RJD’s Tasleemuddin (Araria), NCP’s Tariq Anwar (Katihar), LJP’s Chaudhary Mahboob Ali Qaisar (Khagaria) and Congress’s Mohd Asrarul Haq Qasmi (Kishanganj). From Jammu & Kashmir, there are three Muslim MPs including PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti (Anantnag). The remaining two, Muzaffar Hussain Baig (Baramulla) and Tariq Hameed Karra (Srinagar), are also from PDP. The two Muslim MPs from Assam are Siraj Uddin Ajmal (Barpeta) and Badruddin Ajmal (Dhubri) both from the All India United Democratic Front. NCP’s MohdFaizal PP has won in Lakshadweep while AIADMK member AnwharRaajhaa has made it to the Lower House from Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu. The All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi, representing Hyderabad, has retained his seat.


However, it may be argued here that all Muslims who have won do not represent just the Muslims as their constituencies will have both Muslims and Hindus and that the non-Muslims who have won, like Bulo Mondal of the RJD who defeated Shenawaz Hussien also do represent both Muslims and others in their constituencies. But the fact remains that this Lok Sabha puts up a poor show as far as representation per se to the Muslims is concerned – this is the lowest representation for the community in 50 years. As for other minorities like Christians, Sikhs or Buddhists, the numbers are almost negligible except for exceptions like Sonia Gandhi, S S Ahluwalia or Captain Amarinder Singh.


Women on the other hand have had a better showing in the 16th Lok Sabha, with their numbers going up to 62. But this again is just 11% share in parliament for women who make up 49% of the population. In 2009, there were 61 women MPs so the increase is negligible. BJP has the highest number of women MPs with 28, including first timers like actor Hema Malini from Mathura, UP and young 26-year old Heena Gavit from Nandurbar, Maharashtra. The BJP had fielded 35 women candidates. Trinamul Congress comes second with 11 of its 34 MPs being women.None of the four AAP MPs are women and the Congress is sending just three women to Parliament this time.


Out of a total number of 8,163 candidates, 636 women contested elections across the country this time. In 2009, 556 (6.9 per cent) women candidates had contested out of a total of 8,070. These figures make it obvious that almost all political parties still have a deeply chauvinistic attitude while giving out tickets to candidates.


The question here now is whether the Modi government will be inclusive enough to have adequate representation of minorities within the cabinet and the ministries. As is being speculated, if Mr Arun Jaitely can be accommodated by Mr Modi even after having lost in Amristsar, then why not Mr Shenawaz Hussien? And also, watch and see how many women find posts in the new cabinet and ministries.


For the complete list of Muslim MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha, see :

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