24 July, 2021

The ‘Muslim Vote’ And Its Paradoxes

A curious axiom: the BJP garners more votes in ‘strong Muslim’ districts. Bihar was an exception, so the tactic changes.

Tribhuvan Tiwari
The ‘Muslim Vote’ And Its Paradoxes

The Census 2011 data on religion has unleashed the fury amongst media and public affairs commentators over its interpretation. As the public debate rages ferociously, but inconclusively, over whether India will eventually become an Islamic republic, the only solace is Mark Twain’s quip: ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics’. Amidst such pointless hand-wringing, perhaps a more relevant exercise is the impact of religion on voting patterns, if any. There are various conjectures and beliefs on how voters of different faiths vote in India. There is one theory of a tempestuous relationship between BJP and Muslim voters. That the BJP tends to perform poorly in districts with greater Muslim population is a well-ent­renched idea. As per the latest census figures, Muslims make up 14.2 per cent of the overall population of India, spread across 640 districts. Of these, there are 100 districts where Muslims comprise over 20 per cent of the population. How does the BJP fare in these stronger Muslim districts vis-a-vis the rest? This analysis shows that the voting equation...

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