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Muslim representation in Assam Assembly
By Muhammad Hasibor Rahman
|The results of the 11th Assembly
election of Assam show that the voters of the state are quite mature, they
know how to preserve the age-old secular tradition of their state.
Rejecting all communal forces, the electorates of Assam have voted the
Indian National Congress (INC) to power with comfortable majority. The INC
has won 71 seats in the 126 member state legislative body. For ensuring
its victory in the election, the Muslim voters have played the major role.
The Muslim candidates have contested the election in as many as 36
Assembly constituencies of the state. A total of 26 Muslim candidates have
won the election. The prominent losers in the Assembly election are former
Congress chief minister of Assam Anwara Taimur, state samajwadi parti
president Abdul Muhim Mazumdar and United Minority Front of Assam chief
Hafiz Rashid Chowdhury. The political party wise number of newly elected
Muslim representatives of the state legislative body is given as follows:
Muslim Members of Assam Assembly (2001)
Not a single candidate of the united Minority Front
of Assam has won the Assembly election. This time two Muslim female
candidates – Ms Sharifa Begum from Rupahihat Assembly constituency on
the Congress ticket and Ms Hussanara Islam from Mankachar Assembly
constituency on the NCP ticket have been declared winners. The SP, the
AITC and the SAP have won one seat each while Independent candidates have
won three seats in the Assembly election.
The Muslims constitute 28 percent of the state’s total population and
have the strength of electing about 30-35 candidates in the Assembly
election. But the percentage of their representation to the state
legislative body has remained less than the proportion of their
population. The main reasons of poor performance of the Muslim candidates
in the election are absence of cooperation and understanding among the
Muslim leaders of various groups, lack of media coverage of their
election, poor planning and paucity of resources required for smooth
running their election campaign.
A 17 member Congress ministry headed by Mr Tarun Gogoi as the chief
minister has already been installed. Only two Muslim members - Mr Ismail
Hussain as the cabinet minister and Mr Nazimul Omar as the minister of
state are inducted in the ministry. Muslim representation in the ministry
is far below their expectation.
While calling upon the people of Assam to guard against the communal and
divisive forces and to maintain peace and harmony among them for the
interest of the state, the powerful All Assam Minority Students' union has
extended its final support to the Gogui ministry.
The Muslims of Assam have a very high hope of receiving better treatment
from the Congress ministry of the state. They are in need of security and
employment opportunities for this young generation. They have also a
number of demands like rehabilitation of flood affected people and victims
of Nellie and Bodoland massacres and restoration of the names of 3.75 lakh
'D' voters to the electoral rolls. However, it remains to be seen as to
what extent the Congress government of the state will fulfill the
expectations of the largest minority community of the state.