Issues

Muslim Representation in Lok Sabha may hit all time low in 2014

In all probability, BJP will end up winning in the next general elections more seats than it has ever done in the past. This alone is enough reason to conclude that the Muslim representation in Lok Sabha may hit an all time low in the coming elections. says Dr Javed Jamil

Elections are still a few months away. There are possibilities of changes in the likely results of the elections. It is quite possible that the ultimate scenario may not be as horrible as it looks now. But in all probability it appears that BJP will end up winning more seats than it has ever done in the past. This alone is enough reason to conclude that the Muslim representation in Lok Sabha may hit an all time low in the coming elections.

If we look at the table of Muslim representation in Lok Sabha since 1947, we find that it has been almost half of what it should have been. It has varied from the lowest of 21 in 1952 to 49 in 1980. The average comes to about 32 which is almost one third of what should have been the case in accordance with the Muslim percentage in the population and concentration in constituencies.

 Muslims are always on the losing side in the country. Whenever anyone talks of reservation of Muslims, the opponents - open and hidden - start arguing that the Constitution does not provide reservation on the ground of religion. No one asks them: Does the Constitution provide for the denial of reservation on the ground of religion? Does the constitutional spirit of secularism allow under-representation of a certain community in any field, especially where it is not the merit but the representation that matters? There may be an argument that in jobs and education, merit rather than any other consideration should ideally be the deciding factor. Of course, even stronger counter, arguments can be given against this notion. But there cannot be absolutely any argument in favour of not ensuring representation in peoples’ bodies in accordance with a community’s percentage in the population. While there are other reasons also for the under-representation, the foremost reason remains the lack of will on the part of political parties in allotting enough tickets to Muslims. See the following table:

 Not only in Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies, the representation of Muslims in Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishads has also been much lower than what it should be. It is to counter this trend that the writer of this article (along with Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi) had prepared Agenda 2014 and sent it to various political parties. This agenda had hosts of issues, but here I will just highlight the one related to the Muslim representation. The Agenda has demanded:

“All political parties must agree to allot the following:
— 15 pc tickets to Muslims in Lok Sabha elections;
— 15 pc seats to Muslims in Rajya Sabha;
— If Lok Sabha elections do not bring 15 pc Muslims from respective parties, they must compensate it by nominating more candidates for Rajya sabha;
— Allotment of tickets in assemblies in accordance with the population of Muslims in that state;
— Allotment of seats in Vidhan Parishads in accordance with the population;
— If elections do not bring in required number of MLAs, it should be compensated through allocation of greater seats in legislative councils.”

Political parties need to be pressurised to make sure that Muslim representation in their total quota of Lok Sabha plus Rajya Sabha and State Assemblies plus Councils must be proportionate to the Muslim population in the country/states.

The indications so far are that no political party is caring about Muslims. The composition of candidates declared by different political parties till now is hardly encouraging. We are fighting a battle which, perhaps, has already been lost.


The author is a thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”, “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He can be contacted at doctorforu123@yahoo.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2014 on page no. 2

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