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No Naqvi, No Cry: BJP sheds it’s last Muslim MP

by | Jun 1, 2022 | India

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's exclusion in the list of Rajya Sabha candidates ends the last Muslim representation of among legislators of the BJP.
A view of an illuminated Parliament House, during the Beating the Retreat Ceremony, in New Delhi on January 29, 2010.

New Delhi: With the name of Minorities Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi missing from the party’s list for the June 10 elections to the Rajya Sabha, the BJP is heading for a situation when it will not have a single Muslim face in Parliament.

Since the BJP’s second coming since 2014, Muslim presence in public policy space has been diminishing. At the same time, Muslim bashing has appeared to have been pursued as an unstated government policy, as evidenced by the utterances of ministers, MPs, MLAs and functionaries of the BJP. As in the case of the Hijab ban in Karnataka, it is the state that has seemed to be in the forefront of the anti-minority campaign. In past years, elite Muslim organisations such as the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia Islamia have been targeted by the Hindutva brigade. Prominent Muslim leaders such as Azam Khan and Mukhtar Ansari – as also scholars and professionals such as Kafeel Khan, Umar Khalid and Sarjeel Imam – have been put behind bars.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had fielded six Muslim candidates and all of them had lost. Therefore, the BJP has no Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha, while the ruling National Democratic Alliance has a solitary Muslim representative: Mehboob Ali Kaiser of the Lok Janshakti Party. In the Rajya Sabha, the term of the BJP’s three Muslim MPs will be ending on June 7. Apart from Naqvi, the ruling party parliamentarians belonging to the minority community who will shortly be retiring are Syed Zafar Islam and MJ Akbar.

With Naqvi likely to lose his Rajya Sabha membership from June 7, it will become incumbent upon him to resign from the Union Council of Ministers. In all probabilities, Naqvi will be fielded as the BJP’s candidate for the June 23 Lok Sabha by-elections from Rampur – the seat vacated by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. The ruling party can also use the nomination route to appoint at least one prominent Muslim face in the Rajya Sabha. Of the total quota of 12 members that the President can appoint in the nominated category, there are seven vacancies at present.

Srinanda Jha
Srinand Jha
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Journalist by accident, rail, travel and political buff by choice - dissenter by compulsion. Interested in policy and governance.