Lowest Muslim Representation in Six Decades: Only 4.4% of MPs in 18th Lok Sabha are Muslim Despite Community Making Up 15% of Country’s Population

TCN News

New Delhi: The eighteenth Lok Sabha has the lowest representation of Muslims in six decades, with less than 5% of its members identifying as Muslims, despite the community constituting over 15% of India’s population. Presently, there are 24 Muslim MPs (4.4%) in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament). This record low comes despite a notable increase in the number of Muslim MPs from the Indian National Congress, the second-largest party in the current House of People.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which holds the most seats in 2024, does not currently have any Muslim MPs. The decline in Muslim representation in the Parliament during the 1990s coincided with the rise of the BJP, which saw its MP count exceed 100 for the first time in the 10th Lok Sabha (1991-96).

Prior to the decline in the 1990s, Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha reached its peak at 8.3% during the 7th (1980-84) and 8th (1984-89) Lok Sabhas under the Congress rule. After a decline in the 1990s, Muslim representation gradually increased, approaching 7% in the 14th Lok Sabha (UPA 1: 2004-09), corresponding with a decrease in the BJP’s MP count in the 2000s.

However, in the latest four Lok Sabhas (UPA 2: 4.8%, NDA 1: 4.7%, NDA 2: 5%, NDA 3: 4.4%), the proportion of Muslim MPs has again declined to 5% or lower, reminiscent of the levels seen in the 1990s.

At present, the Congress leads in party-wise Muslim representation with seven MPs, accounting for 7% of its total MPs. This marks the first time since the eighth Lok Sabha (1984-89) that the grand old party has crossed the 7% threshold for Muslim MPs, having previously peaked at around 7.5% during the 6th, 7th and 8th Lok Sabhas (1977-89).

Subsequently, this share sharply declined to 1.1% in the 17th Lok Sabha (2019-2024), before rebounding in the current term.

Following the Congress, the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) have five and four MPs from the community respectively, with Muslims constituting 17% and 11% of their total MPs. Other Muslim MPs belong to the Indian Union Muslim League (3), the Jammu & Kashmir National Congress (2), the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (1) and there are two independents.

The record low in Muslim representation in the latest Lok Sabha largely stems from significant declines in Assam and Kerala, where representation of the community dropped from 14% to 7% and 19% to 15% respectively. Even in Uttar Pradesh, despite the INDIA alliance winning a majority in 2024, the state witnessed a slight decrease in the percentage of Muslim MPs from 8% in the previous Lok Sabha to 6% in 2024.

Overall, only 10 states and Union Territories have elected at least one Muslim MP to the current Lok Sabha. States such as Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Goa, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh have never sent a Muslim MP to the Lok Sabha.