General Elections in Bihar – A Paradise Lost For Muslims

By Moin Moon Khan,

A few years ago, an NRI of the BJP orientation told me that he did not hate Muslims. To corroborate his point, he said his family driver in Bihar is a Muslim. I told him that he would hate his Muslim driver if his son developed a business and hired a Hindu as his driver. He was shocked at my tart rejoinder, looking for words, or maybe weapons, to silence me.

The member of the Overseas Friends of BJP could not silence my conscience at that time, but his party certainly hushed up the entire Muslim community in Bihar in recently concluded general elections by deploying the secular face of Nitish Kumar, who used the Munh-pe-Ram-Ram-and- baghal-mein-churhee policy of playing secularism on the face while riding on the hateful BJP’s chariot (rath).

It is no secret that BJP wants Muslims to be permanently downtrodden, oppressed, and demoralized. When it comes to Muslims, BJP wants to play the role of a benevolent king, by exhibiting its empathy and doling out its condescending favors.

While news reports are showering rose petals on the concept of social engineering crafted by the Janata Dal (United) in the 2009 general elections, nobody is shedding tears on the devastating loss of political clout of Muslims in Bihar.

News stories have not highlighted the fact that Bihar, which has 15-20 percent Muslim voters, was able to elect only three Members of Parliament – Mohammad Asrarul Haque, INC, from Kishanganj; Dr. Monazir Hassan, JD (U), from Begusarai; and Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, BJP, from Bhagalpur.

The embarrassment gets further disgusting when you notice that the only Muslim who got elected on the BJP ticket would come from Bihar.

Under the aegis of Nitish’s politics of camouflage, all the Muslim candidates lost elections in constituencies where Muslim population was around 15 percent or more – Madhubani, Darbhanga, Siwan, Sitamarhi, etc. Kishanganj was the only exception. Madhubhani and Darbhanga had two UPA’s cabinet ministers – Dr. Shakeel Ahmed and Ali Ashraf Fatmi, and both were defeated by the BJP candidates – Hukum Deo Narayan Yadav and Kirti Azad respectively.

From Bihar, there were three Muslims who held prominent cabinet portfolios and several lower positions in the previous UPA government. Now, there might be one, and may be none at all.

While Muslims registered deficit, other communities got overwhelming surplus: Rajputs got nine MPs; seven Yadavs entered into the Parliament; and six Dalits filled the reserved seats. Six Bhumihars along with three members of the Extremely Backward Castes group made to the hall of fame. The Brahmin, Kayashtha and Kurmi also got one berth each.

The loss of Muslims’ slide can be attributed to the schizophrenic profiles of the JD (U), which is part of the NDA, which unabashedly declared its prime ministerial choice in favor of Lal Krishna Advani, the Rath Yatra avatar or monster (pick your favorite) and Babri Mosque’s demolisher, and for NDA’s crown prince, Narendra Modi, who massacred Muslims in Godhra and won the Gujarat assembly election as arrogantly as Israeli premiers come out victorious by killing Palestinians.

It is intriguing to note that during the entire election period, Nitish Kumar kept strategic distance from Narendra Modi, by not allowing him to come to Bihar for any campaigning, though the purveyor of the Hindutva message did tour Jharkhand and other neighboring states. Only after the election was closed in Bihar, Nitish came close to the shadow of Modi in Ludhiana.

Very shrewdly, Nitish created a shroud against Varun Gandhi’s provocative statements and BJP’s incendiary goal of constructing Ram Mandir at the site of the demolished Babri Mosque. While keeping Hindutva’s hawks at bay, Nitish was trying to throw small dough to Muslim minions in terms of positions on various state boards. However, Nitish did not give generous number of tickets to Muslim candidates.

Nitish was certainly successful in hoodwinking Muslims of Bihar by proclaiming himself as their savior, like a butcher proclaiming himself to be a vegetarian. In fact, Nitish has been a facilitator for the Sangh Parivar in the same way as George Fernandes coalesced the Hindutva fraternity in its glorious days.

But flaying only Nitish for its Machiavellian strategies will be completely unfair. All the other parties in Bihar have been doing more or less the same thing. For the debacle of the Muslim political empowerment in 2009, RJD and LJP are equally responsible.

Ram Vilas Paswan, whose power base in Bihar is as fake as his black hair color, should not have demanded for 17 seats, leaving no choice to RJD but to take away all the seats except four to leave for the Congress. The RJD acted like a traitor against the Congress Party. Lalu Prasad enjoyed all the bells and whistles of the central government’s power for five years, but when it came to work together during the election time, he used the most rustic, bucolic, boorish, and pastoral, charwaha like, tactics to blackmail the Congress Party. On the other hand, local Congress leadership showed complete lack of political skills but to play the puppies – bark on the RJD and wag tails in front of the Congress high command.

The three musketeers - RJD, LJP, and Congress - are equally responsible for throwing the flesh of Muslims into the BJP’s den (BJP won 12 seats), where obviously, JD (U) was guarding the hideout (the latter won 20 seats).

In Bihar, Muslims failed, and failed miserably. Although democracy, a rule by ballot count, prevailed in Bihar, the democratic values got perished. No taxation without representation is one of the tenets of democracy too.

(The author is a Chicago-based community activist and can be reached at



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