For a Muslim it’s easier to become President than Panchayat member
New Delhi, July 16, 2012: This is the hard reality of 65-year-old Independent India. Every fourth President of India has been Muslim – there were three Muslims among 12 Presidents since Independence i.e. 25% of the total number of Presidents. The representation of Muslims at Rashtrapati Bhawan is far more than their population percentage in the country. But from Parliament to Assemblies to downside Panchayat, the community is far less represented than its population.
Muslims have not been getting their due share in both Houses of Parliament – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. They are under-represented in state legislatures – Assemblies and Councils. Their presence is pathetic in the local bodies – panchayats and municipalities.
The under-representation of Muslims in Parliament and state assemblies is evident from the voters’ lists for the Presidential election released by the Election Commission of India.
The electoral college for the Presidential polls due on 19th July consists of 4,896 voters that include 776 MPs (233 from Rajya Sabha and 543 from Lok Sabha) and 4,120 MLAs from the state Assemblies of 28 states and two Union Territories (Delhi and Puducherry). There are only 410 Muslim voters in the college (8.37% of the total) while according to government figures of 2001 census, Muslims constitute 13.5% of the country population.
Out of 776 MPs, only 53 are Muslims — 24 Rajya Sabha members and 29 Lok Sabha members and out of . Muslim members constitute 10.30% of the Rajya Sabha electoral college and only 5.34% of the Lok Sabha electoral college. Out of a total of 4,120 MLAs in all the states, only 357 hail from Muslim community.
Only 13 out of 28 states and 1 Union Territory out of 7 have sent Muslims to Rajya Sabha
Only 8 out of 28 states and one UT out of 7 have sent Muslims to Lok Sabha
15 states have no Muslim representation in Rajya Sabha
20 states and 6 UTs have no Muslim representation in Lok Sabha
Not a single Muslim member in Lok Sabha from Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Orissa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab and Rajasthan
Out of a total of 4,120 MLAs in all the states, only 357 are Muslims.
Not a single Muslim member in the 147-member Odisha Assembly
Only one Muslim MLA in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly
Compared to their population, Muslims less represented in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Delhi
Why low representation in Parliament and Assemblies?
One big reason is that the political parties which make a race to nominate a Muslim for president or vice president – the figurehead posts — give few tickets to members of the minority community when it comes to elections to Parliament or Assemblies. Besides, it has been seen that the community vote for a candidate — whether he is Muslim or not – of the party of their choice, but the community candidates do not get votes from other sections of the party’s vote bank. And this is the context in which many Muslim political parties have been formed in last 15 years.