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Saumitra Khan lone Muslim face of BJP, community number goes up to 27

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New Delhi, May 26, 2019-

Saumitra Khan will be the lone Muslim face of the BJP in the new Lok Sabha where the representation of this minority community has gone up to 27 from 22 in the outgoing House.

Khan was elected from Bishnupur in West Bengal and is the only Muslim among the 303 Lok Sabha members of the BJP.

From among the BJP allies, Lok Janshakti Party’s Mahbub Ali Kaiser will enter the Lower House of Parliament from Khagaria in Bihar.

Other 25 Muslim members of the new Lok Sabha are from the Opposition parties.

The Muslim representation in the 16th Lok Sabha had dipped to its lowest so far at 22. In 15th Lok Sabha, there were 33 members of the community. The highest number of Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha was in 1980, when 49 members of the community were elected.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had fielded six Muslim candidates. Khan, a former Trinamool Congress member who switched to BJP ahead of the polls, won from Bishnupur in West Bengal, where the ‘lotus’ bloomed and the BJP won 18 of the total 42 seats.

Khan defeated Trinamool’s Shyamlal Santra by a margin of 78,047 votes. Khan got 6,57,019 votes in his favour.

The BJP had fielded Mafuja Khatun from Jangipur, a constituency where 61.79 per cent of the population is Muslim. She was third while the winner was Trinamool’s Khalilur Rahaman. The seat was earlier represented by Congress’s Abhijit Mukherjee, son of former President Pranab Mukherjee. Abhijit was second garnering 2,55,836 votes.

Humayun Kabir was another BJP candidate who contested from Murshidabad, where the community comprises 66 per cent of the population. Kabir got 2,47,809 votes but remained third.

Other Muslim candidates of the party failed to save their deposits. The party had fielded three Muslim candidates in Kashmir. Sofi Yousuf contested from Anantnag and garnered only 10,225 votes. Mohammad Maqbool War got 7,894 votes in Baramula while Sheikh Khalid Jehangir got 4,631 votes in Srinagar.

Most of the elected Muslim candidates belong to the Congress (5) and Trinamool Congress (5), followed by the Samajwadi Party (3), Bahujan Samaj Party (3) and the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (3).

Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, which have a considerable Muslim population, are sending six MPs each from the community. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, no Muslim candidate had won from Uttar Pradesh as the BJP had won 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Bahujan Samaj Party candidates Afzal Ansari from Ghazipur, Fazalur Rahman from Saharanpur and Danish Ali in Amroha, and Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan from Rampur, Shafique Rehman Barq from Sambhal and ST Hasan from Moradabad made their way to the Lok Sabha.

The Congress had fielded six Muslim candidates in Uttar Pradesh, but none of them won a seat.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority state, has elected three MPs, all from the National Conference. Bihar, which had sent four Muslim MPs to the Lok Sabha in 2014, will only have two MPs from the community this year. Besides Kaisar while another is Mohammad Jawed of the Congress, who won from Kishanganj.

Three Muslim candidates won from Kerala, while two from Assam will also be in the 17th Lok Sabha.

Mohammed Faizal of the Nationalist Congress Party won the lone seat in Lakshadweep. The Congress’ Mohammad Sadique also won the Faridkot seat from Punjab. Indian Union Muslim League candidate K. Navas Kani won from Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu.

The All India Majlis-e-Itthadul Muslimeen will have two candidates in Parliament – party chief Asaduddin Owaisi from Hyderabad and Imtiaz Jaleel from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Jaleel’s victory gains significance as Aurangabad is not a Muslim majority constituency.

The party in Maharashtra had formed an alliance with Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahugan Aghadi.  (Agency)

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