Declining Muslim Representation in India's Elections

Declining Muslim Representation in India's Elections

Declining Muslim Representation in India's Elections

In recent years, the number of Muslim candidates and elected Muslim MPs in Indian elections has been on a decline, reflecting significant shifts in the political landscape. This report examines the trends and implications of this decline, particularly focusing on the recent 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Election Statistics
2019 vs. 2024

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 27 Muslim MPs were elected to the Lok Sabha. However, in 2024, this number has decreased to 24, marking a reduction of three MPs. Furthermore, political parties have fielded 41 fewer Muslim candidates in 2024 compared to 2019.

Party-wise Representation
In the 2024 Lok Sabha

  1. Congress: 7 Muslim MPs
  2. West Bengal Trinamool Congress (TMC): 5 Muslim MPs
  3. Samajwadi Party (SP): 4 Muslim MPs
  4. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML): 3 Muslim MPs
  5. National Conference (NC): 2 Muslim MPs
  6. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM): 1 Muslim MP
  7. Independents: 2 Muslim MPs

Notably, no Muslim candidate from the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won a seat.

Regional Distribution

West Bengal has the highest number of Muslim MPs (6), with 5 from the TMC and 1 from Congress. Despite being 14.2% of the population, Muslims constitute only 4.42% of the Lok Sabha, reflecting a significant underrepresentation.

Historical Context

Since the BJP came to power in 2014, Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha has consistently remained below 5%. Historically, except for 1957 and 1999, Muslim representation has generally been above 5%, peaking at 9.04% in 1980 and over 8% in 1984. The current representation of 4.42% is significantly lower than previous decades.

Declining Candidacies

The decline in Muslim representation is partly due to fewer Muslim candidates being fielded by all parties. In 2014, there were 320 Muslim candidates across all parties. This number dropped to 115 in 2019 and further reduced to 78 in 2024.

Shift in Opposition Strategy
Even secular parties have reduced the number of Muslim candidates

  1. Congress: 34 candidates in 2019, 19 in 2024
  2. Trinamool Congress: 13 candidates in 2019, 6 in 2024
  3. Samajwadi Party: 8 candidates in 2019, 4 in 2024
  4. Rashtriya Janata Dal: 5 candidates in 2019, 2 in 2024

Despite fielding fewer candidates, the success rate of Muslim candidates has increased, indicating strategic victories where candidates were fielded.

Analysis and Implications

Political analysts suggest that the reduction in Muslim candidates is a trend influenced by the increasing dominance of Hindutva politics and the BJP's electoral strategies. This reduction is also seen in secular parties, who assume Muslim votes without necessarily nominating Muslim candidates, contributing to the decline in Muslim representation.

Future Outlook

Observers predict further declines in Muslim representation due to potential future delimitation processes, which might reserve Muslim-majority constituencies for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. This trend could further marginalize Muslim voices in the Indian Parliament.


The decreasing number of Muslim MPs and candidates in Indian elections reflects a broader shift towards a majoritarian political structure, diminishing the pluralistic character of Indian politics. This trend underscores the need for a re-evaluation of electoral strategies by both secular and Hindutva-oriented parties to ensure more inclusive representation in the Lok Sabha.

This report highlights the pressing issue of declining Muslim representation in India's parliamentary elections, offering insights into its causes and potential future impacts on the country's political fabric.


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