PATNA: The number of Muslim legislators in Bihar's new 243-member assembly is up, 24 now from 19 in 2010.
All the Muslim members are from the grand alliance, which routed the BJP-led NDA, except one who was elected on a CPI-ML ticket. The RJD has 12 MLAs from the minority community, Congress six, JD (U) five and CPI-ML one. Four of them were elected from seats in Muslim-dominated Kishanganj district, three each from East Champaran and Purnia, two each from Araria, Darbhanga and Katihar and one each from Sheohar, Madhubani, Saharsa, Gopalganj, Samastipur, Bhojpur, Rohtas and West Champaran districts.
Even the aisi factor could not hamper the poll prospects of these grand alliance candidates in Muslim-dominated constituencies. Owaisi's AIMIM contested six seats in Seemanchal region and lost all.
The grand alliance gave tickets to 33 Muslim candidates or 14% of its total candidates. The BJP had fielded only two Muslim candidates, both of whom lost. The outgoing assembly had one Muslim BJP MLA.
Even Muslim candidates of BJP's allies - LJP, RLSP and HAM-S - could not make it to the assembly. Though the outgoing assembly had two Muslim woman legislators - Parveen Amanullah and Razia Khatoon, there would be no Muslim woman in the new House.
Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who won from Alinagar on an RJD ticket, said the number of Muslim candidates has increased from 19 to 24, but the representation was still less when compared to the actual population of Muslims in the state. Muslims account for 16% of population in the state, but their representation in the new House would be around 10%.
"Had more Muslim candidates been given tickets, BJP would have blamed us for creating a Pakistan in Bihar. I know the number is not in proportion to the population, but that doesn't mean the problems faced by the minority community would be ignored," Siddiqui added.
Sarfaraz Alam of JD(U), who defeated Ranjeet Yadav, an Independent candidate to retain his Jokihat seat in Araria district, said he would put forward the problems faced by minority community to the new government. "Recruitment of Urdu teachers would be my priority," he added.
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