One Muslim Minister each in Three States
Mohammed Akbar, the lone Muslim MLA in the newly elected Chhattisgarh Assembly has been appointed as a Minister in the Government headed by Mr. Bhupesh Baghel. Akbar won the election from Kanwardha seat registering the largest margin of victory in the State in the just concluded elections. In Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Arif Aqueel has been taken into the ministry by Chief Minister Kamalnath. He is one among the two Muslims elected for the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly in the recently concluded elections.
In Rajasthan, of the 15 ministers in the cabinet, only one, Mohammed Saleh has been taken into the ministry. Eight Muslim MLAs were elected for the 200-member Assembly. (Elections were held for 199 seats. In one of the seats, election was postponed due to the death of a candidate), this time against two members in the previous Assembly. Saleh represents Pokharan Assembly seat.
Muslims constitute about 11% of the population in Rajasthan but their representation has always hovered around 10 or 11. The Muslim representation could have been more this time if Muslim votes would not have split between multiple Muslim candidates in at least three constituencies. For instance, in Makrana, BJP’s Roopa Ram won the seat against Congress’ Jakir Hussain Gaiswal who despite garnering 85,713 votes was defeated by a slender margin of 1,488 votes by Roopa Ram. Two other Muslim candidates, namely Abdul Aziz of BSP and independent candidate Munawar Ali together polled over 2,200 votes. Similarly in Churu, the margin of defeat of Congress’ Rafeeq Mandelia was only 1,850 against the BJP candidate. Rafeeq secured 85,383 votes. But two other Muslim candidates, Asghar Khan and Saleem Gujar split the Muslim votes and took away more votes than Rafeeq’s margin of defeat.
In Tijara, BSP’s Sandeep Kumar won the seat against Aimamuddin Ahmad of the Congress who was defeated by over 4,000 votes. Another Muslim candidate, Fazal Hussain of the Samajwadi Party, took away over 22,000 votes. Tijara is part of the Muslim dominated Mewat region which straddles states of Haryana and Rajasthan.