Karnataka election

With 7 MLAs, Muslim representation in Karnataka Assembly falls to lowest in 10 years

All the seven Muslim members who won are from Congress.

The 224-member Karnataka Assembly will have only seven legislators from the Muslim community, which forms 13% of the State’s population. Incidentally, all winners are from the Congress party.

This is the lowest Muslim representation in Karnataka Assembly in the last 10 years. In 2008, the Assembly had nine Muslim members. The number had gone up to 11 in 2013, nine of which were from the Congress and two from the Janata Dal (Secular).

The highest Muslim representation of 16 legislators was in 1978 and the lowest of two Muslims was in 1983 during Ramakrishna Hegde’s chief ministership.

This time, the Congress fielded 17 Muslim candidates while the Janata Dal (Secular) gave tickets to eight Muslims. Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen offered its support to the JD(S). The Social Democratic Party of India, the political arm of the hardline Islamist organisation, the Popular Front of India, contested three seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party did not field any Muslim candidate.

2018 winners

  1. Kaneez Fatima, the sole Muslim woman to have won, defeated Chandrakant Patil of Bhartiya Janata Party by 5,940 votes in the Gulbarga Uttar constituency. Her husband late Qamar Ul Islam had won the seat in 2013.
  2. Zameer Ahmed Khan recorded the biggest victory margin among Muslim candidates to win the Chamrajpet constituency in Bangalore city. The former JD(S) legislator, who defected to Congress in March this year, defeated M Lakshminarayana of BJP by 33,137 votes. 
  3. Tanveer Sait, primary and secondary education minister in the outgoing Siddaramaiah cabinet, won the Narasimharaja constituency for the fifth time on the trot, defeating Sandesh Swamy of BJP by 18,127 votes.
  4. UT Abdul Khader, minister for food, civil supplies and consumer affairs in the Siddaramaiah cabinet, won from the Mangalore constituency defeating Santosh Kumar Rai of BJP by 19,737 votes. 
  5. NA Haris won from Shantinagar, beating K Vasudevamurthy by 18,205 votes.
  6. Veteran Roshan Baig won the Shivajinagar constituency, defeating BJP leader Katta Subramanya Naidu by 15,040.
  7. Rahim Khan defeated Suryakanth Nagmarpally of BJP by 10,245 votes to retain Bidar seat.

It is believed that the Siddaramiah’s pro-minority image helped Muslim candidates tide over the constituency-level anti-incumbency factor.

2018 losers

Prominent among losing leaders included incumbent legislators Fairooz Nuruddin Saith of Congress, who lost to Anil S Benake of BJP in Belgaum Uttar by 17,240 votes.

BA Mohiuddin Bawa, also of Congress, lost to Bharath Shetty of BJP by 26,648 votes.

Iqbal Ansari of Janata Dal (Secular), who had represented Gangawati in 2013, lost to Paranna Eswarappa of BJP by 7,973 votes.

Congress candidate Abdul Hameed Mushrif lost to Basanagoud Patil of BJP 6,413 votes. Congress leader Makbul S Bagawan had won the seat in 2013.

Dwindling numbers

Muslims form more than 30% of the electorate in at least 19 constituencies in the state. While the number of Muslims in the Assembly has been in double digits only four times before, the low representation in the Assembly has become a discussion among community leaders.

Muslims need more than seven members to raise the community’s issues in the Assembly, said Syed Tanveer Ahmed, editor-in-chief of Karnatakamuslims.com, a news website that aims to ensure Muslim involvement in governance.

“The plummeting Muslim representation in the legislative Assembly is a cause for concern,” Ahmed said. “Political parties in a democracy should ensure adequate representation of Muslim law makers. It is essential for the well-being of the community,” he said.

Muslims, who constitute 13% of the population, deserve a better deal from political parties, Ahmed added. “Political parties must field more winnable Muslim candidates to increase their representation,” he said.

In an interview to Scroll.in early this month, Muzaffar Assadi, professor of political science at Mysore University, explained why political parties were reluctant to field Muslim candidates. “Political parties often believe that Muslims do not attract votes. The electorate views Muslim candidates with suspicion and it lessens their winning chances.”

“The stereotype is working against potential candidates,” Assadi said.

Muslim MLAs in Karnataka Assembly

1952 5
1957 9
1962 7
1967 6
1972 12
1978 16 (+1 by-poll) = 17 
1983 2
1985 8
1989 11
1994 6
1999 12
2004 6
2008 9
2013 11
2018 7
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

Play

This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.