The BJP has won 41 out of 79 Lok Sabha constituencies across 90 districts that the UPA-I government had identified as having a minority population of over 25 per cent and poor socio-economic indicators. The BJP wrested 15 of these seats from Opposition parties this time, most of them coming from West Bengal.
The Congress’s share of these seats was halved, from 12 in 2014 to six in 2019. Out of these, they lost three seats to the BJP in the Northeast, one in Karnataka and one in West Bengal.
The BJP had won 34 such seats in 2014.
The first UPA government in 2008 had identified 90 Minority Concentration Districts as part of a development programme aimed at focusing on education, health and skill development in these districts. As per the 2001 Census, minorities are defined as Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains.
The Census data shows Muslims have a sizeable population, in descending order, in Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar. The data shows that Christianity is a major religion in Northeastern states, Goa, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh.
The majority of these 15 seats gained by the BJP are in West Bengal, with the party winning six such seats in the state. Out of the 18 Minority Concentration seats in West Bengal, four flipped from TMC to BJP — Dakshin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Bangaon, and Ranaghat. TMC was able to retain ten of the 14 seats it won in 2014 and gained one from CPM.
Uttar Pradesh, however, saw an opposite trend. In 2014, the BJP had won all but one of the 20 Minority Concentration seats there, when the BSP and the SP ran separately. This time, they lost two of these seats to SP (Moradabad and Rampur) and four to BSP (Bijnor, Amroha, Saharanpur, and Shrawasti). BJP, however, gained one seat from SP (Badaun).
A large chunk of these seats is in West Bengal (18), Uttar Pradesh (20), and the Northeast (16).
In the Northeast, the BJP wrested three of these seats from Congress and one from All India United Democratic Front, but also lost one to Congress. Congress now has two of these seats in the Northeast; it had six in 2014.
In Bihar’s seven such seats, JD(U) increased their count from one to three.
Last week, 25 Muslim MPs were elected, against 23 in the outgoing Lok Sabha.