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Muslim representation in the new Karnataka Assembly: Cause for concern

By Kashif-ul-Huda,

Bengaluru: The results of Karnataka Assembly election had a nail-biter finish with BJP winning 104 seats but post-poll alliance of Congress (with 78 seats) and Janata Dal (Secular) (with 37 seats) has staked its claim to form the next government.

As has been the case in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh etc., growth of BJP has always meant political marginalization of Muslims. Karnataka this time has returned only 7 Muslim candidates to the next Assembly. In the last Assembly, there were 11 Muslim MLAs (7 were sitting members) and in 2008 election there were 8 Muslim MLAs.

This year there were 16 Muslim candidates of major parties and out of which 7 won from Bidar, Chamrajpet, Gulbarga North, Mangalore, Narasimharaja, Shanti Nagar, Shivajinagar, and 9 candidates lost in Mangalore City North, Shiggaon, Tumkur City, Gangawati, Ramanagram, Kolar, Bijapur City, Raichur, Hubli-dharwad- West, Belgaum Uttar.

Among the seven Muslims who won this time all have been sitting MLAs except for Kaneez Fatima who won from Gulbarga North on a seat that was last won by her husband Qamrul Islam. All winning candidates are from Congress. Last election Zameer Ahmed Khan won Chamrajpet on JDS ticket but this time he retained the seat while he switched over to the Congress.

Bidar: Rahim Khan of Congress won this seat with a margin of 10,245 votes.
Chamrajpet: B. Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan retained his seat with a margin of 33,137 votes.
Gulbarga Uttar: Kaneez Fatima won this seat by a margin of 5940.
Mangalore: U.T. Abdul Khader retained this seat 19,793
Narasimharaja: Tanveer Sait won with a margin of 18,127.
Shantinagar: N A Haris with a margin of 18,205
Shivajinagar: R. Roshan Baig with a margin of 15,040.

In the absence of any serious contest by any of the Muslim party, it is a matter of concern that the representation of Muslims have come down and all the seats are won by sitting MLAs or in one case wife of an MLA who passed away.

Where will the new faces for Muslim political leadership going to come from?

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