In Modi's India: No Power for Muslims


M Shamsur Rabb Khan

Someone rightly observed that people may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do. This is true with the BJP and its leaders: the Prime Minister does not want Muslim in power, so does the BJP though he or his party members never get tired of lauding the most misleading and the most hollow slogan sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishvash India has ever heard. Like the last Delhi Assembly elections in February 2020, the Bihar Assembly elections 2020 will go down in history as the BJP’s policy of political ouster of Muslims. It has been consistent erosion or removal of Muslims from power corridor since 2014 when Narendra Modi assumed the office. Out of 70 Delhi Assembly seats, BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate though 5 Muslims MLAs were elected on AAP ticket.

In Bihar Assembly elections 2020, BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate though Muslims constitute 16.87% of the state population, as per 2011 Census. The trend of political deprivation was same in 2005 and 2009 assembly elections in which the party had fielded 63 and 67 candidates respectively, but none from the Muslim community. In Jharkhand, BJP had contested all 14 seats in 2004, 12 in 2009 and 14 in 2014 general elections, but none of the candidates were from the Muslim community.

There are 57 ministers in the union council of minister under Narendra Modi, and except for Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi there is no other Muslim minister though the community comprises 15-20% of India’s populations. The Prime Minister even selected many ministers from the bureaucracy such as S Jaishankar, Hardeep Singh Puri, R K Singh, and from the army like V K Singh. But he did not find a single capable Muslim bureaucrat or army officer in India to be inducted into his ministry.

See the dismal picture. We have no Muslim minister in India’s 15 states such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand. If democracy is about representation, then who will raise the community’s problems in all these states? Certainly not the BJP; not even a single time we have heard from any minister from the ruling party in the centre or BJP-ruled states that they talked about Muslims’ problems, rather they often talk about negative attributes, false charges, proximity with terrorism and forcibly labelling anti-national stamp. The single biggest accomplishment of Narendra Modi is the irreparable Hindu-Muslim divide that we have never experienced before. Should we believe what he says or assess what he does?

Mamata Banerjee’s TMC government in West Bengal with seven Muslim ministers and Uddhav Thackeray’s Maharashtra government with four Muslim ministers are the only states that we have the Muslim representation. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar led council of minister has a lone – Feroz Ahmad – out of 31 ministers though his fifth ministry in 2015 had four Muslim ministers. Yogi Adityanath followed Nitish Kumar in UP with a lone – Mohsin Raza – who is an MLC. In the 2017 UP assembly elections, the BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in a state where Muslim population is 20%. In 2020, there is just one Muslim among 151 ministers in nine BJP-ruled states.

Muslim representation in Parliament shows a steady decline or the community is well under-represented, for example, there were 11 MPs in 1952 which rose to 20 in 1962 and reached the peak number of 49 in 1980, 42 in 1984 and then the number below 30 for the next four elections from 1989 to 1998. In 2004, the number was 34 and in 2009 it stood at 30, while 2014 and 2019 elections saw 23 and 27 Muslims respectively, but none of them belonged to the BJP. This compels us to ask: does the BJP not want Muslim votes? Does the Prime Minister not value Muslim candidates?

Come to the heart-rending slogan sabka saath, sabka vikas again. So, what kind of relation is this where husband and wife are not living together? Or is it mere fake relation for the sake of speaking to the gallery? If there is no political togetherness, how communities work together for India’s development? If there is no representation, how can trust be built? The normal rhetoric of the Prime Minister conveys the impression that he speaks for all, he does for all, but in reality he does not take Muslims along either in ministry, in governance, in diplomacy or in political representation. This is the truth none can deny.

During the last Jharkhand elections, the Prime Minister remarked that those creating violence can be identified by their clothes. I was shocked, so were others. How can a Prime Minister speak like that?



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