New Delhi: A curious pattern has emerged across states and constituencies ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or its allies across India, which shows a steady decline in Muslim representation of the local population.
An analysis carried out by The Hindu newspaper shows that apart from the national parliament- Lok Sabha where Muslim representation has fallen to an all-time low, in Assemblies too, the numbers have been falling steadily.
For instance in the just concluded elections in Maharashtra last month, results show that from three Muslim ministers and 11 Muslim MLAs in the outgoing Assembly, the numbers are down to nine legislators and no Muslim ministers at all. The BJP, which swept to power in the state with 122 MLAs fielded just one Muslim candidate, who lost.
Haryana meanwhile is down from five Muslim MLAs and one minister to three MLAs and no minister. The BJP, which won 47 seats to form government, fielded only two Muslims both of whom lost.
The data shows that the situation in these two States is similar to that in the other seven States where the BJP is either in power or in alliance - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab. These nine States, which account for over a third of Indias population, have only 22 Muslim MLAs out of 1359 legislators that represent them. So while Muslims make up 8% of the population of these states, they account for less than 2% of MLAs.
Chhattisgarh and Goa have no Muslim MLA, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have one each and Rajasthan and Gujarat have one each. This is a significant change from how these states outgoing Assemblies looked; leaving out Andhra Pradesh whose boundaries changed, there were twice as many Muslim MLAs in the remaining eight States outgoing assemblies as there are today.
At the ministerial level, of the 151 Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State in the nine BJP-ruled States, just one- Yunus Khan, Public Works Department minister in the Rajasthan government is a Muslim.
On the other hand, the situation is quite contrary in the 13 big States not ruled by the BJP. There are 52 ministers in those States, making up 16% of those States total ministerial berths. While Muslim-majority Jammu & Kashmir leads with three-fourth of its ministers Muslim, Kerala, Assam and Uttar Pradesh follow.
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