After a five-year gap of no representation, Muslim ministers have made an entry in a big way in the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government. In the full-size cabinet that was sworn-in Monday, there were four Muslim ministers, including three Cabinet ranked.
On Monday, Nawab Malik and Hasan Mushrif of the NCP and Aslam Shaikh of the Congress were sworn-in as Cabinet ministers. Shiv Sena’s Abdul Sattar took oath as a Minister of State. This is also the maximum ever reperesntation of Muslims in state’s Cabinet ranks. In the late CM Vilasrao Deshmukh-led government in 2004, there were three Muslim ministers who held the Cabinet rank. Though, the highest Muslim representation was in Deshmukh’s term between 1999 and 2003 with a total of seven ministers, only two were given Cabinet ranks.
For the first time since 1960, when the state of Maharashtra came into existence, Muslims, who make up 11.5 per cent of the state’s population, had failed to find any representation in the former CM Devendra Fadnavis-led government, which came to power in 2014.
At present, the state’s legislative assembly has 10 Muslim MLAs, slightly better than 2014, when nine MLAs were elected.
The Shiv Sena, which formed the government in 1995 along with the BJP, had made Sabir Shaikh, the lone Muslim MLA from the party, a cabinet minister in 1995. This time around, the party has allotted a MoS rank to Abdul Sattar.
From 1960 to 2014, there have been a total of 64 Muslim ministers, including 31 Cabinet ministers and 33 MoS.
Many other minority groups have found themselves sidelined from power centres in the state. The influential Parsi community has had no representation in the state government since 1995, while there has been no Christian representative in the government since 1978. There is a single Jain minister in the form of Sena’s Rajendra Patil Yadrawkar.
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