Mumbai: The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) under Narendra Modi is systematically working on slow elimination of Muslim political representation and political cleansing of the community members, Nissim Mannathukkaren, Chair in the Department of International Development Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, said in an article.
"Of the 1418 BJP MLAs now in the country, there are only four Muslims. That is 0.28% of the population, when the Muslim population is 14.2%. The exclusion is simply staggering. In a comparative perspective, in November 2014, non-BJP ruled states had 300 Muslim MLAs, representing 13% of the total MLA population", Nissim Mannathukkaren said in the article published by Indian Express.
"Since Narendra Modi became Gujarat chief minister in 2002, the BJP has not fielded a single Muslim candidate either in the Lok Sabha or Assembly Elections. If the Muslim representation in Gujarat Assembly was 6.6% in 1980 (when the Muslim population was 9.67%), the political cleansing ensured that it is only 1.6% now", he added.
"Muslims constitute 19.2% of the Uttar Pradesh population, that is about 4.3 crore people, as big as the population of Argentina. Yet, the BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in the 2017 Assembly elections, which it swept with 312 seats out of 403. Muslim representation drastically fell from 17.1 % to 5.9% in the UP Assembly.
"In Assam, (where the Muslim population is 34.2%), the BJP has one Muslim MLA out of 61. In Bihar and Jharkhand (16.9% and 14.5% Muslim population, respectively), the BJP has no Muslim MLAs. In Maharashtra (11.54% Muslim population), the BJP won with 122 MLAs and fielded one Muslim, who lost", he said.
Analysing the national picture and representation of Muslims in Indian parliament, Mannathukkaren said, "The last four years have seen a terrifying demonstration of this tyranny in action. In the 2014 elections, the BJP came to power without a single elected Muslim MP – in any case it had fielded only seven Muslims (5 in J & K and Bengal alone) out of a total of 482 candidates. The total Muslim representation in Parliament fell to 4%, the lowest since 1957."
Quoting numbers Nissim Mannathukkaren said the BJP talks of the empowerment of Muslim women but is not ready for their political representation.
"More deceptive is the claim the BJP is duty-bound to protect the interests of Muslim women who voted for it in large numbers in the UP elections, a claim which is not factual. If the BJP is the champion of Muslim women, why does it not field them in elections?" Nissim Mannathukkaren asked.
Stating that the BJP is ruling 19 of the 29 states at the present, but has Muslim representatives in only three states, Nissim Mannathukkaren said, "The party has made “Congress Mukt Bharat” its rallying cry. But what is immediately manifest is the march towards a “Muslim Mukt Bharat.”
"The terrifying denouement of this will be especially catastrophic for the Pasmanda Muslim, who is subject to the “double-bind” of religious as well as caste discrimination, and who continues to remain on the margins of the nation’s socio-economic and cultural life."
"A democracy will become brittle when its minorities are systematically subject to a political apartheid and denied political representation. Certainly, no democracy can be a real democracy when its oppressed castes and classes are pitted against each other on the basis of religion", he said.
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