Gayasuddin Sheikh and Mohammed Javed Peerzada are the only two Muslim MLAs in the outgoing Gujarat Assembly. Both won the Gujarat Assembly election in 2012 on Congress tickets.
Gayasuddin Sheikh was elected from Dariapur in Ahmedabad while Peerzada won from Wankaner in Rajkot. They have been fielded again by the Congress, which has given tickets to six Muslim candidates in the Gujarat Assembly election.
Muslims account for 9-10 per cent of Gujarat’s population. Going by proportional representation, Gujarat Assembly may have 18 Muslim MLAs in the 182-seat House. But, the number has never crossed seven.
By mere population size, Muslims can influence Assembly election results, after delimitation done in 2012, of 36 seats, where they comprise around and above 13-14 per cent of registered voters.
In 34 Assembly constituencies, Muslim voters comprise over 15 per cent of population.
There are 20 Assembly constituencies in Gujarat where Muslim voters have higher concentration, in excess of 20 per cent of population. Of these 20 seats, four are in Ahmedabad district while three each in Bharuch and Kutch districts.
Of the 34 seats having more than 15 per cent Muslim voters, the BJP won 21 seats in 2012 while the Congress won 12. The Congress’s alliance partner – in 2012 not this time – NCP secured one seat.
In 20 Gujarat Assembly constituencies, where Muslim voters comprise more than 20 per cent of population, the BJP emerged victorious on 12 while the Congress could win 8 seats. The Congress had fielded seven Muslim candidates in 2012. The BJP had fielded none.
The two Muslim candidates of the Congress who won marched home with narrow victory margins. Gayasuddin won by little over 2,500 votes while Peerzada was ahead by less than 7,000 votes.
The BJP on the other hand, won Muslim-dominated seats like Jamalpur-Khadia, Vejalpur, Karjan and Vagra among others.
Jamalpur-Khadia in Ahmedabad district has over 61 per cent Muslim voters. The BJP had claimed after 2012 Gujarat Assembly polls that the party secured about 20-25 per cent Muslim votes.
CASES IN CONTEXT
The BJP won the Jamalpur-Khadia seat comfortably winning 38.63 per cent votes compared to 33.54 per cent polled by the Congress. However, the equation changed in the Lok Sabha election, when the Congress candidate got 51.82 per cent against BJP’s 43.24 per cent.
On Bharuch seat, which has about 38 per cent Muslim population, the BJP secured 59.5 per cent votes in 2012 Gujarat Assembly election. The party maintained its vote share in the Lok Sabha polls also.
The Congress improved its vote percentage between 2012 Gujarat Assembly election and the Lok Sabha polls in Bharuch constituency by but it trailed by over 22 per cent.
Except three of the 20 constituencies, where Muslims comprise more than 20 per cent of population, the BJP improved its vote share in 2014 Lok Sabha polls over 2012 Gujarat Assembly election.
The three constituencies, where BJP’s vote share declined are Jambusar, Vagra and Bharuch – all in Bharuch district, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put extra efforts this election. But, in all three constituencies, the BJP stood way ahead of the Congress in terms of votes polled.
Only in three constituencies of 20 Muslim dominated ones, the Congress polled more votes than the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
These are Jamalpur-Khaida, Danilimda (both in Ahmedabad district) and Wankaner (in Morbi). Of these three, the Congress had won two – Danilimda and Wankaner – in the 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections.>