When Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had appealed to the Muslims in the state to adopt birth control measures to check the population growth, he was slammed by Muslim fundamentalist leaders. AIDUF leaders in the state had argued that the CM should not talk about the population when he had six siblings. However, now an analysis of Muslim dominated assembly constituencies shows that the fear of the CM is correct, the demography of the state will change radically if the population growth of Muslims, both through immigration and births, is not checked.
An analysis of the number of voters in 40 Muslim dominated assembly constituencies shows that there has been an explosion in the number of voters in those constituencies in the last 10 years. The number of voters in those 40 constituencies has increased at an unbelievable rate, ranging from 30% to 55%.
The extremely high growth in the number of voters in minority-dominated districts like Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Hojai etc shows that the demography in those areas is changing rapidly. Jania and Baghbar, two constituencies in the Barpeta district, saw the number of voters increase by more than 50% from 2011 to 2021, signifying the high population in the areas dominated by people of East Bengal/Bangladesh origin.
|Sl||Constituency||Voters in 2011||Voters in 2021||Increase in voters||Growth rate|
The population growth in the next 10 constituencies were between 40% to 50%, and most of them are Muslim nominated areas.
Among the top 40 constituencies with the highest growth in the number of voters, as many as 33 were won by the Congress-led alliance in the recently concluded assembly elections. Among these 40 seats, 20 seats were won by the Congress party, 11 seats were won by Badruddin Ajmal led AIUDF, while one each was won by CPI(M) and BPF, part of the grand alliance led by the Congress party. Thus, the Congress-led alliance won 33 seats among the 40 seats with the highest growth in voters, while BJP won the rest 7 seats.
This shows, the grand alliance won most of their seats in minority-dominated constituencies with high population growth, Congress won 21 out of its 29 seats, and AIUDF won 11 out of its 16 seats from these constituencies. On the other hand, BJP won only 7 seats from these 40 places, while the party won 60 seats in the elections.
The link between population growth and community is established more by the growth in voter numbers in constituencies which are indigenous and tribal populations. During the same 2011 to 2021 period, the growth in the number of voters ranged from 10% to 20% in most of such constituencies. The growth rate in some such constituencies was as follows- Haflong 13%, Bokajan 14%, Patasarkuchi 15%, Guwahati East 6%, Dharmapur 11%, Sibsagar 12%, Amguri 13% etc. All these constituencies are located in places that are dominated by indigenous communities like caste Hindu Assamese and local tribal populations, and the share of Muslims in these places is lower.
In several constituencies, the proportion of Muslims in the population has been increasing, and the result of the same can be seen in the election results. As the growth of voters in Muslim dominated is almost three times the growth rate of non-Minority dominated areas, it can be said with reasonable certainty that if this trend continues, Muslims will have more seats under their control. With this rate, it will not take much time for the state to see a complete change in the demographic profile of the voters.
This shows that the concern of Himanta Biswa Sarma is valid, and in order to stabilise the population and the demographic profile of the state, Muslims in Assam have to come forward to adopt birth control meassures. Last month, he had urged Muslim residents of the state to adopt a ‘decent family planning policy’ to deal with grinding poverty and chronic social problems, adding that the state will be undertaking few more steps to encourage population control.
“We want to work more for the minority Muslim community to reduce population burden. We want to work together with them so that the population in the state is controlled. The population is the main root of social menace like poverty, land encroachment and we can reduce this social menace if the population is reduced,” Himanta Biswa Sarma had told media reporters in Assam.
The previous BJP govt in Assam had already adopted a population policy, which makes people with more than 2 children uneligible for government jobs and benefits.