In a First, UP Sends no Muslim to Lok Sabha - The New Indian Express

In a First, UP Sends no Muslim to Lok Sabha

Published: 17th May 2014 07:06 PM

Last Updated: 17th May 2014 07:09 PM

LUCKNOW: Amid many firsts in this Lok Sabha election, not one Muslim has been elected from Uttar Pradesh despite the sprawling state's 19 percent Muslim population.

This is the first time this has happened since the first Lok Sabha election of 1952.

There were 55 Muslim candidates in the fray this time. The BSP fielded 19 Muslims, Samajwadi Party 13, Congress 11 and the Aam Aadmi Party 12.

The BJP did not give ticket to any Muslim. 

Interestingly, none of the Muslim contestants made it even to the second spot. Most lost heavily.

In 2009, Uttar Pradesh elected seven Muslims to the Lok Sabha. These included Kadir Rana (BSP), Salman Khurshid (Congress), Zafar Ali Naqvi (Congress), Tabassum Hasan (BSP), Shafeek-ur-Rehman Virk (BSP), Qaiser Jahan (BSP) and Mohd Azaharuddin (Congress).

Calling this a "serious threat for secularism and an aberration for Indian democracy", Sai Haider, a Muslim scholar here, said this posed "a dangerous trend", specially since the BJP was now at the helm. 

"This is a sad moment for the community and we will have to reflect on the reasons for this complete rout and take corrective measures," he told IANS. 

Old timers in the community blame it to the "endless confusion" among Muslims till the day of polling on who to vote for so that the BJP surge could be contained.

"This confusion till the end cost us dear," admits Hussain Warsi, a community leader from Allahabad. 

Uttar Pradesh has at least 21 parliamentary seats in which the Muslim community has a decisive say. This time apparently the vote got miserably divided. 

Among the parliamentary constituencies that have a major Muslim say include Pilibhit, Azamgarh, Budayun, Barabanki, Ghosi, Lucknow, Bahraich, Bareilly, Shravasti, Balampur, Amroha, Sambhal, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Bijnore, Kairana, Rampur and Moradabad.

Of these, the Samajwadi Party won Azamgarh and Badaun and the BJP held sway elsewhere. 

Almost all religious heads, Ulemas and even the Imam of Jama Maszid issued 'fatwas' and advisories asking people to vote for a certain party or, in worst case scenario, for "their own people".

This does not seem to have worked. 

The number of Muslims from Uttar Pradesh has varied in every election. While the highest number (18) were elected in 1980, the lowest was five in 1962.

In 1971, Uttar Pradesh elected 16 Muslim MPs while in 1996 and 1998 the number was six each, eight in 1999, 10 in 1977 and 12 in 1984. 

Maulana Kalbe Sadiq hoped that the new government of BJP leader Narendra Modi will work for everyone's welfare irrespective of their religion.

"The people have elected Modi and all other questions are irrelevant now. I hope Modi will now work for the country's development and for all," he added.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in)

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