Politics, Asia - Pacific

24 Muslim lawmakers elected to India's lower house of parliament

New ruling alliance to take oath on Sunday, says Indian president’s office

Ahmad Adil  | 07.06.2024 - Update : 07.06.2024
24 Muslim lawmakers elected to India's lower house of parliament


As many as 24 Muslim contestants have made it to India's Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, in the 2024 general elections, against 26 in 2019.

The seven phased, marathon polls, which began on April 19, ended on June 1 and the results were declared on June 4.

According to final results announced by election commission, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 240 seats in the 543-member house, while the main opposition Indian National Congress got 99 seats. The BJP, however, remained short of the 272-seat majority on its own and is now set to return to power with the help of alliance partners.

Muslims are the largest minority in India and have a population of 183 million, 14% of 1.4 billion people. But their share in parliament has remained below 5%.

In this year's polls, political parties fielded as many as 78 Muslim candidates across the country, against 115 in 2019.

In the first election held in independent India in 1952, only 11 Muslims were elected.

The number peaked at 49 in 1980, but has been falling steadily since then, and the community is said to be suffering from rising Hindu nationalism in the officially secular country.

Who are these Muslim lawmakers?

The winning Muslim lawmakers are not from any party in the ruling alliance, and represent either the opposition alliance or have won as independents.

Seven of these MPs are members of the Congress party, five belong to the All India Trinamool Congress, and four to the regional Samajwadi Party, which delivered a shock to the BJP by winning 37 of 80 seats in the northern Uttar Pradesh state.

The Indian Union Muslim League in southern India also won three seats, while Jammu and Kashmir's National Conference grabbed two and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen one. Two Muslims entered the parliament as independents.

These legislators represent the West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Bihar, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Lakskwadeep and Ladakh states.

Among the prominent Muslim faces in the new legislature include Asaduddin Owaisi, president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen who won from the Southern Indian city of Hyderabad for the fifth time.

Another known face is former Indian cricketer Yusuf Pathan, who won from West Bengal’s Baharampur seat by defeating a Congress candidate.

In Uttar Pradesh, Iqra Choudhary, 29, from Samajwadi Party, beat Hindu nationalist BJP’s candidate by nearly 70,000 votes.

One of the surprising wins was by Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid, who is in jail since 2019.

Rashid won the election from Baramulla in Kashmir, defeating former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by a huge margin.

Awareness, education has a role

Although the number of Muslim representatives has dwindled compared to previous elections, experts say greater awareness and education has allowed "more people" from the community to come forward.

Niaz Farooqui, secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, India's largest socio-religious Muslim organization, told Anadolu that the percentage of Muslims winning in comparison with the number of those who contested had increased this time, "which is positive."

Around 31% of contestants among the Muslim candidates won this time, versus 23% in 2019.

He said given the Muslim population, the number of representatives should be more, even though historically it has remained between 3% and 5%.

Of the 24 elected lawmakers, two are women.

“In parliament, Muslim women are less in number, as compared to the other communities. But with awareness and education, it is slowly changing and women are coming forward to contest and they are winning as well,” he said.

Modi to take oath on Sunday

On Friday, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Narendra Modi met Indian President Droupadi Murmu to stake claim to form the new government.

Subsequently, an official statement said Murmu will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the prime minister and his cabinet on Sunday at 7.15 pm local time (13:45GMT).

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