As the third phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held on Tuesday, nearly 30 of the 115 Lok Sabha seats going to polls in the third phase of elections have substantial Muslim population across the states of Assam, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal.
The high profile seats like Assam’s Dhubri, where 67.4 per cent of the population is Muslims are going to polls on Tuesday along with Kerala’s Malappuram, which has nearly 68 per cent Muslim population. Controversial Muslim leader and All India United Democratic Front (AIDUF) chief Badruddin Ajmal is contesting from Dhubri, which is also the fortress of his party because of the large Muslim population. Ajmal had abused a journalist recently and threatened to smash his head.
Assam’s Barpeta with 52%, Gauhati has 25% and Kokrajhar with 21% of Muslim population will also see polling on Tuesday.
In Kerala, at least 11 constituencies of out of the total 20, have more than the one-third Muslim population. All the 20 Lok Sabha seats of Kerala will be voting in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 23.
Interestingly, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s fortunes will also be tested on Tuesday as Muslim majority Wayanad Lok Sabha is also going to polls in the third phase along with the neighbouring Mallapuram Lok Sabha constituency of Kerala, which has nearly 68% Muslim population.
In the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, the actual demography of the Constituency has Muslims as the majority making up 56% of the electorate while Hindus are only 34%. The Christian community is 9% of the electorate. The constituency comprises of 7 Assembly constituencies drawn from three districts: Thiruvambady from Kozhikode, Mananthavadi, Sulthan Bathery and Kalpetta from Wayanad, Eranad, Nilambur and Wandoor from Malappuram.
Rahul Gandhi, sensing a defeat at the hands of Union Minister Smriti Irani from a Hindu majority constituency had chosen a Muslim majority constituency as the Congress party had decided that securing a victory in Muslim dominated constituency would be much easier than in a Hindu majority constituency.
Ponnani, another minority dominated constituency in Kerala with 64% Muslim population will vote on April 23 in the third phase of Lok Sabha election. Congress ally, the Indian Union Muslim League has fielded ET Mohammed Basheer, who is seeking a third term from Ponnani. Addition to this, Vadakkara Lok Sabha constituency (34% Muslim population), Kasaragod (32.54 % Muslims) and Kozhikode (37.47 % Muslims) is also going to polls on Tuesday.
Chalakudy has 38% Muslim population, Ernakulam has 39%, Idukki has 42% Muslim population, while Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alapuzzha have 45%, 39% and 21% Muslim population respectively.
In West Bengal, four out of five Lok Sabha constituencies that are scheduled for third phase Lok Sabha elections have a majority Muslim population. Malda Uttar has 49.73% Muslim population while Malda Dakshin has 53.46% Muslims. Muslims comprises 63.67% and 58.31% of the total population in Jangipur and Murshidabad constituency respectively.
Abhijit Mukherjee, son of former President Pranab Mukherjee is contesting from the prestigious Jangipur constituency where Muslims form two-thirds of the voters.
Ten Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh are also scheduled to go to elections in the third phase. Four constituencies- Moradabad (44.78%), Rampur (49.14%), Sambhal (45.54%), Bareilly (33.89%) have considerable Muslim population. Even Lok Sabha constituencies of Badaun, Aonia, and Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency have more than 20% Muslim population.
Rampur Lok Sabha is considered to be a high profile as it has been hugely controversial as Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan is taking on actor-turned-politician BJP candidate Jaya Prada. In Bareilly, one of the strongholds of the BJP, Union Minister Santosh Gangwar is contesting against the Mahagathbandhan of SP-BSP-RLD to secure his eighth term from the constituency.
In Bihar, two out of five seats going to polls have Muslim population, Araria with 41% Muslim votes and Supaul with 18% will go to polls on April 23.
Karnataka’s Bidar – 20% and Dharwad – 19% also have a visible Muslim population while Jalna and Aurangabad in Maharashtra have Muslim voters more than 20% of the population.
Similarly, two seats of Gujarat – Kachh and Bharuch also have a Muslim population of 21%. In Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag, where the elections are being held in three phases, has 98 per cent of Muslim voters.