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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Bengal: Fewer Muslims elected, number of women MLAs same

Of the 292 seats for which results were declared, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) bagged 213 while the BJP managed to win 77 seats. One seat went to the Indian Secular Front (ISF) while an independent candidate won one constituency.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
May 4, 2021 4:04:19 am
Mamata Banerjee, along with party MP Abhishek Banerjee and TMC poll strategist Prashant Kishore, on her way to the party office in Kolkata on Sunday. (Photo: Partha Paul)

While the number of women MLAs in the Assembly remained unchanged following the Assembly elections, Muslim representation in the legislature dropped compared to 2016.

Of the 292 seats for which results were declared, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) bagged 213 while the BJP managed to win 77 seats. One seat went to the Indian Secular Front (ISF) while an independent candidate won one constituency.

While the outgoing Assembly had 59 Muslim legislators — 32 were from the TMC, the Congress had 18 and the Left 9 — the next Assembly will have 44 Muslim MLAs, of whom 43 are from the TMC and one from the ISF.

Some of the prominent Muslim legislators in the new Assembly are Firhad Hakim, Javed Khan, Idris Ali, Humayun Kabir, Saokat Molla, Siddiqullah Chowdhury and the ISF’s Nawshad Siddique.

“The likely reason for the drop is that while more Muslim candidates from TMC won, none did from the Congress or Left. In seats in Malda and Murshidabad districts, the BJP too won some seats by vote division where they gave Hindu candidates,” said Mohammed Reyaz, an assistant professor in the journalism department of Aliah University.

According to observers, this time the Muslim votes were consolidated behind the TMC. The party gained 26 seats in Malda and Murshidabad at the expense of the Congress and Left. It also held on to its vote share in the Muslim-dominated areas of south Bengal.

Meanwhile, the number of women MLAs remained unchanged at 40. In the 2016 Assembly polls, 29 women candidates from the TMC were elected, while the Congress had four women MLAs. The Left had six such legislators and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) one. This time, the TMC has 33 women MLAs and the rest are from the BJP.

Among the prominent women legislators are the TMC’s Shashi Panja, Nayana Bandyopadhyay, Ratna Chatterjee, June Maliah, Lovely Moitra and the BJP’s Agnimitra Paul, Tapasi Mondal, and Chandana Bauri.

“We are grateful to the mothers and sisters of Bengal for giving us such a huge mandate… also grateful to my minority brothers for supporting us. This is a victory of Bengal,” Mamata Banerjee said on Sunday.

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