Women, Muslim representation further dwindles after polls

Women, Muslim representation   further dwindles after polls

 With the latest cluster of Assembly polls producing lesser number of women and Muslims, representation of the two groups in the political system has further dwindled in the country.

Initial analysis revealed 50 women were elected to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa Assemblies as against 59 in 2012, while the number of Muslim lawmakers came down drastically from 76 to 28.

The BJP’s thumping victory in the elections had a direct impact on the reduction of Muslim representation, as the saffron party did not field a single Muslim in the 403-strong UP Assembly.

There were 71 Muslim MLAs in the outgoing UP Assembly, with SP and BSP together accounting for around 60. This has now declined to around 25 despite BSP, predominantly a party of Dalits, fielding nearly 100 candidates out of 403.

Out of the newly elected MLAs SP has 16 Muslim lawmakers, while BSP has seven and Congress two.

Political analysts say that communalisation of the UP elections has resulted in reduced Muslim representation. They blame both the BJP and the regional parties for resorting to communalisation.

The CPI(M) Polit Bureau attributed the BJP’s victory to a "mix of rank communal appeal and a wide ranging caste coalition".

“While acknowledging the massive mandate that the BJP has received, it also has implications that are dangerous for the country as it will encourage the brand of Hindutva politics which is divisive and harmful to the country,” the Left party further said.

Echoing a similar view, the CPI said the results were a "big setback" to secular and democratic forces in the country.

In terms of women representatives, Punjab sent six to the new Assembly as against 16 in the outgoing one, Uttarakhand sent five, the same as in the outgoing Assembly, while UP has elected 37 as against 35 in 2012.

The five-state polls also saw a sharp reduction of women nominees with Manipur fielding 11, Goa 18, Uttarakhand

56 and Uttar Pradesh 344 women. Overall, they account for 7.75 per cent among the 6,500 candidates who fought the elections.

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