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15 Muslims make it to the Lok Sabha

Cricketer Mohd Yusuf Pathan with his wife and brother Irfan pathan after winning election

Malick Asghar Hashmi/New Delhi

The 18th Lok Sabha would have the lease number of the Muslim Members ever since the first General Election was held in 1952. So far, from the data analysed 15 Muslims have made it to the lower house of the Parliament in the just concluded election.

 Indicative of the diminishing presence of India’s second-largest religious denomination, the parties had fielded only 37 candidates from the Muslim community, and of them, 15 have made it.

While cricketer Yusuf Pathan not only won his maiden political battle as the candidate of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) from the Baharampur constituency of West Bengal, he also turned out to be a giant killer as he defeated Congress veteran Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary.

This year, political parties fielded 78 Muslims to contest the Lok Sabha elections, the lowest number so far. In the last election, this number was 115.

Muslim leaders like the two former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir – Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah – were defeated in their respective constituencies. Omar was defeated by an independent candidate Engineer Rashid, whose campaign was run in absentia by his two sons.

Engineer Rashid, whose real name is Abdul Rashid Sheikh won the Baramulla seat by securing 4.7 lakh votes.

In Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party’s Mohibullah won the Rampur seat by securing 4,81,503 votes Engineer has been lodged in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail for five years as he faces charges of helping terrorists in Kashmir.

A total of 78 Muslim candidates contested the Lok Sabha elections this year, which is much lower than the previous elections. In the last election, various parties had fielded 115 Muslim candidates.

Congress candidate Imran Masood won from Saharanpur by 64,542 votes, while 29-year-old Samajwadi Party candidate Iqra Chaudhary from Kairana defeated BJP’s Pradeep Kumar by 69,116 votes.

Iqra Hasan launched an inclusive campaign in a rural milieu where Hindus and Muslims live together and win over everyone. Though she comes from a well-established political family, a Muslim woman coming out to seek votes is highly impressive.

Sitting MP from Ghazipur Afzal Ansari won the seat by securing 5.3 lakh votes, while AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi retained the Hyderabad seat by a margin of 3,38,087 votes over his nearest rival BJP’s Madhavi Lata Kopela.

Independent candidate Mohammad Hanifa won by a margin of 27,862 votes in Ladakh, while another independent candidate, while Zia ur Rehman won in Sambhal by a margin of 1.2 lakh votes.

In Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri seat, National Conference’s Mian Altaf Ahmed defeated Mehbooba Mufti by 2,81,794 votes, and in the Srinagar constituency, NC candidate Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehndi got 3,56,866 votes against PDP’s Wahid Para

In the 17th Lok Sabha election which was held in 2019, a total of 27 Muslim candidates were elected.

In the 16th Lok Sabha, only 22 Muslim Members were in the Lok Sabha. In contrast, the highest number of Muslims elected to the lower house – 49 – was in 1980 and most of them were from Congress.

However, in a few Muslim candidates reaching Parliament is not new. So far 22 was the least number of Muslims in the Lok Sabha. This was in the 16th Lok Sabha.

In the last general election, the so-called secular parties like Congress, Samajwadi Party, RJD, JDU, BSP, NCP, and Left parties had fielded 115 Muslims.

This time all of them together fielded 78 candidates. In the last i.e. 17th Lok Sabha, BJP’s Muslim face was Soumitra Khan from West Bengal and the party had won the maximum number of 303 seats. This time BJP’s Muslim face was Dr. Abdul Salam from Malappuram who was not a strong candidate.

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The strong candidates from the Muslim community in the fray were Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, Badruddin Ajmal, Tariq Anwar, cricketer Yusuf Pathan, Naseeruddin Shah’s niece Sahira Haleem Shah, Imtiaz Jalil, Iqra Ahmed, Ashraf Fatmi, Kunwar Danish Ali, Abdul Salam, Hamdullah Saeed, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehndi, Sajjad Lone.

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