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Published in the 1-15 June 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Double eat democracy
By Saeed Suhrawardy

he great churning of Indian public opinion is over. A clear picture of Lok Sabha 2004 is available. The so-called National Democratic Alliance has got the worst possible drubbing. As admitted by their master strategist, Pramod Mahajan, 'they had never imagined in their wildest dreams that the defeat would be so severe.' Another important leader of Bhartiya Janata Party, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj had to concede that 'there was a strong undercurrent among the electorate that could not be gauged by them.' 

For Muslims, the results are the best they would have expected. Luckily a molehill has emerged from the mountain of words erected for them. The brazen attempts to confuse and confound them have come out as a cropper. Without expecting too much from the New Order that is still in a flux, it is advisable to create a political profile of Muslims in Lok Sabha 2004.
Before proceeding further with the analysis of Muslims in Lok Sabha 2004, let me clarify. The analysis is based on the results of Lok Sabha election as published in Rashtriya Sahara (Urdu), Sunday, May 16, 2004. No claim of cent percent accuracy is made for the submissions. The results of Bihar constituencies of Sewan, Betia and Chhapra were not available. The analysis may suffer from inaccuracy ranging, one to five per cent. But it shall reveal a broad file of the results. 

There is a possibility of error in deciphering the identity of names. One taken to be a Muslim may not be so. Or a Muslim might have been omitted because the name does not give the impression of being so.

Representation of Muslims has gone up marginally from 31 to 36.At least it has not decreased. The increase comes to approximately ten per cent. Not a dramatic improvement, but certainly it inspires hope. The demand from representatives of Muslims has been reservation according to their ratio to their total population. If their demand for reservation were to be met, their number should be sixty-five. So there is still a shortfall of thirty between expectation and reality. A section of the print media has reported that by and large Muslims, have resorted to tactical voting. They voted for the candidate, who had the best chance of defeating NDA or BJP candidate, although nobody is in a position to prove who, when and where has done that? However the results do indicate that the strategy, if adopted has paid off. 
A.B.A. Ghani Khan Md Taslimuddin Omar Abdullah

A.B.A. Ghani Khan

Md Taslimuddin

Omar Abdullah

For the first time after independence Muslims have realized that their political weight can make a difference. Although it has increased their representation in Lok Sabha by only ten percent, the heavy damage done to BJP and NDA is beyond estimation. They may not become kings but certainly they have emerged as kingmakers. Thirty-six Muslims elected to Lok Sabha- 2004, belong to Andhra Pradesh (2), Assam (2), Bihar (4), Jammu & Kashmir (3), Jharkhand (1), Kerala (3), Karnataka (1), Lakshdeep (1), Maharashtra (1) Tamilnadu (2), Uttar Pradesh (11) and West Bengal (5). It may be observed that the largest number of 11 Muslim MP's belongs to Uttar Pradesh followed by six from West Bengal. 

Mehbooba Mufti Asaduddin Owaisi A.R. Antulay

Mehbooba Mufti

Asaduddin Owaisi

A.R. Antulay

If their political affiliation is to be taken into account, the largest contingent of ten MP's belongs to Indian National Congress. followed by six representing Communist Party (Marxist). Congress MP's are from different states: Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, and West Bengal. It is significant that Uttar Pradesh, which has the largest Muslim population among all states, has not contributed a single Congress Muslim MP. In Uttar Pradesh there was a four-cornered fight among the political parties for Muslim vote. BJP, Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party-all the four tried their level best to garner Muslim electorate. Of the eleven members elected to Lok Sabha-2004 from Uttar Pradesh, seven belong to Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav. The remaining four belong to BSP led by Ms. Mayawati. In spite of their best efforts Congress and BJP have drawn a blank there. It is certain that in spite of their best efforts to woo them, Muslims have not forgotten and forgiven their role in the destruction of Babari Mosque. 
Here is a list of Muslims elected to Lok Sabha 2004 along with their state and party affiliation:

Andhra Pradesh
1.Nizamoddin (Congress)
2. Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM)
3. Anwar Hussain (Congress)
4. A.F. Gholam Osmani (Congress) 
5. Dr Shakil Ahmad (Congress)
6. Taslimuddin (RJD)
7. Md. Ali Ashraf Fatmi (RJD)
(The number may increase in Bihar)
Jammu & Kashmir 
8. Mehbooba Mufti (PDP)
9. Abdul Rashid Shaheen (NC)
10. Omar Abdullah (NC)
11. Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi (Congress)
12. AP Abdulla Kutty (CPM)
13. TK Hamza (CPM)
14. E Ahmad (ML)
15. A.R. Antulay (Congress)
16. Haroon Rasheed (Congress)
17. Kader Mohideen (DMK)
Uttar Pradesh
18. Rubab Sayeda (SP)
19. Saleem Iqbal Shervani (SP)
20. Mohammad. Muqueem (BSP)
21. Afzal Ansari (SP)
22. Mohammad Shahid (BSP)
23. Dr. Shafeequr Rahman 'Barq' (SP)
24. Atique Ahmad (SP)
25. Ch. Munawwar Hasan (SP)
26. Rashed Masood (SP)
27. Iliyas Azmi (BSP)
28. Mohammad Tahir (BSP)
West Bengal
29. Mohammad Salim (CPM)
30. Suneel Khan (CPM)*
31. Mahboob Zahedi (CPM)
32. ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury (Congress)
33. Abdul Mannan Hossain (Congress)
34. Hannan Mollah (CPM)
35. Furqan Ansari
36. Dr. P. Pookunhi Koya (JDU)

[* may not be Muslim - ed.]

If we analyze the figures given above one thing becomes crystal clear that there is nothing like a monolithic "Muslim Vote Bank'. Only two out of thirty-six MP's belong to political organizations exclusively for Muslims. Muslim League in Kerala and Majlis Ittehad-ul-Muslimin are not separatist or extremist organizations. They have been functioning within the orbit of the Constitution of India. Secular political organizations recognize them and include them in their political groupings. The two seats won by them represent only about five per cent of the total seats won by Muslims. Ninety-five per cent among Muslims elected to Lok Sabha-2004 belong to eleven different regions and are divided between ten political parties. That proves that 'Muslim Vote Bank' is a figment of imagination created to alienate Muslims from non-Muslims. There is no common political trend that may be discerned among Muslims at national level. The largest group of 10 Muslim MPs is affiliated with Indian National Congress. The remaining 26 members are affiliated with regional parties.

The affiliation of Muslim members with various political parties is given below according to their strength:

Indian National Congress (10), Samajwadi Party (7) Communist Party (Marxist) (6) Bahujan Samaj Party (4) Rashtriya Janata Dal (3) provided Shahabuddin is elected from Sewan, National Conference (3). Majlis Ittehad-ul-Muslimin (1) Muslim League, (1). DMK (1), JDU (1) No Muslim was elected on Telugu Desham and BJP ticket. Telgu Desham gave tickets to six Muslim candidates, but all of them were defeated. Muslim support to Congress Party is not confined to a single state. It is sufficiently dispersed. Congress MPs have been elected from Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. The tally is made up by Assam and West Bengal (2) each the remaining six have been elected one each from Bihar, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu.

The number of states represented in Lok Sabha -2004 comes to eleven. We have to identify the states, which are not represented by Muslims in Lok Sabha -2004. They are: 1.Arunachal 2.Goa 3.Gujarat 5.Haryana 6.Himachal Pradesh 6. Madhya Pradesh 7.Manipur 8.Meghalay 9.Mizoram 10.Nagaland 11.Orissa 12. Punjab 13. Rajasthan 14. Sikkim 15. Tripura. 16. Chhattisgrh 17.Uttaranchal 18. Andaman & Nicobar 19. Chandigarh 20. Dadra Nagar Haveli. 21.Daman Diu 22. Delhi. 23 Pondichery. It may be seen that Muslims are under represented in 11regions and are not represented at all in 23 regions. 

However, there are certain pockets e.g. Tonk in Rajasthan, Malerkotla in Punjab, Chandni Chowk in Delhi which may elect Muslim if so desired by political parties. Muslims have two major grievances. They vote for non-Muslim candidates but non-Muslims do not vote for Muslim candidates. The other is that no political party is interested in increasing their number in legislative bodies. On the contrary they do their worst to divide and negate their political weight.


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