India’s National Parties Fail Muslims Once Again with Merely 7.12% Tickets

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Poor representation of Muslims in Parliament is a blot on representative democracy. — File photo

Against what should be a fair share of 14.2%, Muslims got a bargain half of what they deserve.

M Aariz Imam | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — At least 14.2% of India’s population remains deprived. Before you switch on your TV sets worrying about the election results on May 23 remember these figures and ask yourselves what makes you really interested and involved in this exercise.

Based on the data available at Association for Democratic Reforms’ (ADR) website, the seven national parties INC, BJP, AITC, BSP, CPI, CPI (M) & NCP have together given just 7.12% tickets to the Muslims of this country. Against what should be a fair share of 14.2%, Muslims got a bargain half of what they deserve.

BJP which is fighting at the highest number of seats amongst all the national parties, for all its advertisement of having heralded emancipation of Muslim women and with its political slogan Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas, has given just 1.39%  tickets to Muslim candidates accounting for a paltry 6 out of 433. With its poor statistics, clearly, BJP doesn’t offer the reason you should be particularly interested in the results.

Congress, when compared to the BJP’s pie chart, appears to be generous by at least 500%. This is not to mislead you into believing that as Muslim voters opting for Congress would improve your life 500 times. It merely means that whereas BJP considered you worthy at only 1.39% seats, Congress took chance with you in around 7.88% of the seats from where it’s contesting.

Congress with that nostalgic acronym INC, reminiscent of the last golden days for the Muslims in this country, of times when Muslims fought as equals in the war of independence, in its ongoing war against fascism has partnered and bestowed trust on Muslims at only 33 out of the 419 seats. For all, it’s the tall claim of practicing inclusive politics, Congress party’s ticket allocation falls by 50% of what should have been a fair share of at least 59 tickets to Muslim candidates.

Be it her words or her deeds, at 17.74% Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal has eclipsed past everyone when it comes to upholding the banner of secularism. Out of the 62 seats from where All India Trinamool Congress is fighting, on 11 seats it has fielded Muslim candidates. Here it would be interesting to look at the data from the other end of the spectrum since Mamata Banerjee has had an eventful week braving Amit Shah’s onslaught.

The BJP not so long back considered a political untouchable in Bengal, in order to breach the secular minds of Bengali bhadralok, and make inroads in the erstwhile left bastion drew up its plans around a massive propaganda campaign that centred around accusing Mamata’s government of appeasement politics. Going by TMC’s ticket distribution it’s quite evident, that like everywhere else the majority community in Bengal was rewarded with its proportionate share and much more. The accusation on its part stands a joke against some of the more marginalized Muslims in India that happen to be residing in Bengal.

And this is when we are discussing a very limited point of political representation. The accusation of appeasement would belly up if we were not to forget the criminal level of bias in the distribution of other tangible and intangible state assets.

While it goes to Mamata for showing guts in this environment of competitive communalism and fielding highest percentage of Muslim candidates amongst the national party, it is Mayawati who scored the highest with her tally of 39 seats. Fighting on 38 seats less than Congress she fielded 6 more Muslim candidates and stands at a reasonable 10.24%. However, going by the demand of proportionate share her intentions fell short by her actions as BSP even when it fought on 381 seats fielded 40% less Muslim candidates.

With 6.25% Communist Party of India ( CPI) fighting on 48 seats had only 3 Muslim candidates, least numbers amongst all the seven national parties. Whereas CPI (M) with 8 out of 69 Muslim candidates fared twice as good. Sharad Pawar led NCP, an important regional player did slightly better than the average with 8.82% tying with the CPI for the lowest number of seats.

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The writer is a Jamia Millia Islamia alumnus and lives in Oman. The views expressed here are his personal and Caravan Daily does not necessarily subscribe to them.

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