Muslim legislators rise from 19 to 23 in Bihar

Patna, Nov 9 (IANS) The number of Muslims in Bihar’s new 243-member assembly will go up to 23 from 19 in the outgoing house.

All the new Muslim legislators are from the Grand Alliance, which routed the BJP-led alliance, except one who was elected on the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist or CPI-ML ticket.

Both the Muslims fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party were defeated in the assembly election whose results were declared on Sunday.

It included its only Muslim legislator in the outgoing house, Saba Zafar.

Not a single Muslim woman has been elected to the assembly this time. The outgoing house had two: Parween Amanullah and Razia Khatoon.

Interestingly, all the Muslim candidates of BJP allies like the LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan, the RLSP of Upender Kushwaha and the HAM of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi were defeated.

“The results prove that the OBC, EBC, Dalit and Muslim social support base of the Grand Alliance clicked,” said Irshadul Haque, a Dalit Muslim activist.

Of the 23 Muslim legislators, 11 are from the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad, six from the Congress and five from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United.

Political watchers say Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad were the first choice for Muslims in the electoral contest.

In the process, Muslims even rejected Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which contested in six constituencies but fared poorly in most places.

According to official statistics, over a dozen Muslim candidates of different parties ended up in the second position.

About 16.5 percent of Bihar’s 83 million population is Muslim.

The community has sizeable presence in dozens of assembly constituencies in Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria, Katihar, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Siwan and Katihar districts.


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