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Gujarat Polls: BJP Wins 17 of the 19 Seats With Significant Muslim Population

Other parties, including the AIMIM, didn't come close to the winning margin in these seats. The BJP had an easy win.

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The BJP has won 17 of the 19 assembly seats in Gujarat where Muslims are present in a significant number. This comes despite the fact that the BJP hasn’t fielded a single Muslim candidate in any of the 182 seats in the Gujarat assembly. The Congress meanwhile has won on the remaining 2 of the 19 seats — Jamalpur-Khadia and Vadgam. The Quint analysed all 19 seats where where there is a notable Muslim voterbase.

Other parties, including the AIMIM, didn't come close to the winning margin in these seats. The BJP had an easy win.

There are 19 seats where there is a significant Muslim voterbase in Gujarat.

(Vibhushita Singh/ The Quint) 

In many of these, there were multiple Muslim candidates, many of them running as independents. For instance, in the seat of Limbayat, there are a total of 44 candidates, of which 36 are Muslims. The BJP’s Sangitaben Rajendra Patil has emerged victorious here, winning over 52 per cent of the vote share. The runner up on this seat is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with just 20 per cent vote share, a distant second.

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Only one Muslim candidate has made it to the Gujarat assembly this time, Imran Khedawala of the Congress. In 2017, two Muslim candidates other than Khedawala had made it to the Gujarat assembly - MA Pirzada in Wankaner and Gyasuddin Shaikh in Dariapur. Both lost this time.

Muslims make for 9 per cent of Gujarat's population, but have had a history of poor representation in the state. The last time the BJP fielded a Muslim candidate in the Gujarat assembly elections was 1998.

One of the seats with a heavy Muslim population is Godhra, where BJP’s candidate Chandrasinh Raulji, who referred to the rapists of Bilkis Bano as "Sanskari Brahmins", is winning. He is a six-time MLA from the constituency.

Candidates of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contested on 13 of the 19 seats with significant Muslim population, but wasn’t able to make a difference in any of those.

As the party won less the winning margin on each of the 13 seats, the allegation of it being a "vote cutter" doesn't hold.

Moreover, the only seat where the AIMIM won a sizeable chunk was Bhuj (17.36 per cent votes) but it is still less than the BJP's winning margin there.

Bilkis Bano Outrage

The release of the convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano rape case became a flashpoint ahead of the elections. Congress' Rahul Gandhi, who did limited campaigning in Gujarat, had hit out on PM Modi and the BJP for "cheating women" with promises.

AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi had also repeatedly raised the issue in his campaigning. However, the issue clearly failed to deplete any of the BJP's voter base.

Just weeks before the election in November 2022, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had given a controversial statement saying that the perpetrators of the 2002 riots were "taught a lesson". Following this, BJP leader and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma in an interview to NDTV said that "Hindus don't normally contribute to riots".

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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